7 Motivations Every Christian Leader Must Wrestle With

I try to be a humble leader who makes it all about Jesus.  I really do.  I promise that I try to win with people, build teams, make sure other people get credit, forgive others, and serve those less fortunate.  I really try hard.  Then why do I often feel like such a selfish leader?  Why do things continually surface in my life that makes me question my primary motivations?

Personal ambition is a healthy quality as long as it does not eclipse the desire and motivation for the fame of Jesus to spread.  What I am going to share now are some things that I have been wrestling with in my heart.

This is a very personal post.  The reason is because often as leaders we wrestle with things internally that have yet to manifest themselves outwardly.  The following are seven tensions I have that I think are probably common amongst other leaders.  We just do not talk about them at parties.

  1. Am I more interested in my agenda or God’s agenda?  Hopefully they are one in the same but what is my primary motivation?
  2. Am I more interested in being a success publicly or privately?
  3. Does my desire for financial gain eclipse my desire to add value to others?
  4. If I create incredible art and get no credit for it, or worse yet if someone else gets credit for it, am I good with that as long as Jesus is glorified?
  5. What is my real motivation for wanting to leave a great legacy?
  6. If no one ever said “Thank You” or acknowledged my efforts but God was pleased with me, would that be enough?
  7. Are people more important to me than the products I am producing?

As I review the list of questions, I really feel my journey is one similar to many Christian leaders.  We wrestle with the tension of wanting our life to matter, of wanting to be used mightily by a mighty God, of having some good things for our family to enjoy, of wanting the respect of our peers and those we love, and of wanting to produce things that outlive us.

Christian leaders should not apologize or shy away that.  However, we must ensure that our pursuit of these things is for the glory of God and the advancement of His purposes, not the advancement of our personal glory and agendas.

Am I alone on this journey or can the Christian leaders reading this post relate to what I am saying?  If so, what other healthy tensions do you wrestle with?

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One Response to “7 Motivations Every Christian Leader Must Wrestle With”

  1. Rebecca on 09/01/2013 #


    I think you have captured the essence of what so many pastors and church leaders wrestle with, if they were to be honest. False humility/false pride along with conscience and unconscious motives stemming from the need for affirmation abound as well. I’ve been in formal ministry for over 30 years and have seen these struggles within my own life and others from time to time.

    All followers of Jesus Christ (and most especially leaders in the Church), must take seriously the Gospel’s teachings of taking up our cross and dying to self daily…. dying to our motives–hidden and otherwise–dying to our needs for the sake of the Gospel and bringing about God’s Kingdom here on earth. I’m not saying that our needs are NOT unimportant as they are a result of our humanity and wounded, but they are to be placed under submission of God’s healing activity for God’s purposes, God’s agenda. As we have just come out of the Advent and Christmas season (and making our way to Lent next month), our motives, our needs, our very persons have been given the gift of healing, the gift of hope for God’s good pleasure, for God’s glory, for our good because it is ALL ABOUT GOD!

    As leaders in and out of the church, we must not forget that. We must not forget that we are human with motives and needs that often get in the way of God’s restorative activity. Yet, despite our brokenness, God has chosen to live inside us and work through us. And, as God’s children, the Body of Christ, we are to come under the grace-filled authority of Jesus Christ.

    Being transparent, vulnerable, and honest with our struggles helps others to understand and accept the power and hope of The Word for our daily living as followers of Christ.

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