Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thinking about.... motivation

I've been thinking about how to inspire, or motivate, people to get involved at church. I know a lot of people don't think much of church "organizations." But the fact of the matter is, we have to have an organization because we have... people. People require organization - whether it's family units, work places, school, or anything. And it's really hard to inspire people to get involved (for me anyway).

I got to thinking about when my son was in high school marching band. The band director not only organized the students, but there were a TON of parents who pitched in and spent hour upon hour coming to practices, driving great distances to competitions, decorating the band room and lockers, having meetings, making food, making all kinds of sets, spending all kinds of money, and... well, all kinds of things. People went to great lengths and made huge sacrifices, and they seemed to love doing it. And... for what? I mean, why did we do it? Most would probably say we did it for our kids. But even that... for what? I mean, there are kids who weren't in band, and they seemed to survive without it. And even our kids... has it somehow formed who they are now? Did it have any kind of long-term effect?

I'm not saying it was bad or wrong or that it wasn't great fun or anything like that. But, geez, if I ask someone to do something for the church I don't understand why that's being manipulative, outrageous and unreasonable. In my mind, what I'm asking for is for people to get involved in something that can have ETERNAL consequences - for their kids, for themselves, for everyone! So... I don't know... I must be missing something. I mean, what's the difference? Why will people make huge commitments to something like high school band, but they feel it's totally wrong to give themselves to the church? Or is it just me?

Just wondering.

Peace out; and in.


Carrie Jade said...

I wonder if it has anything to do with seeing immediate results, instant gratification, and being publically awknowledged for their service (most of which we don't get at church). You know, build a set for an awared winning marching band and get a trophy. I think, and I'm being prejudiced based on my negative experience there, but I think that a lot of the parents involvement in that school also has to do with competition amongst themselves and very little to do with the kid's wellbeing (not all, but some). Who's the best band parent. I think it's great that we don't have that attitude at our church because it's definitely there at a lot of places I can remember being. Not that I don't think people at our church lack motivation but at least they're not motivated for the wrong reasons. Right? :)

I definitely see your frustration and I'd even say I'm on the same page. I just wouldn't get too hung up on comparing our church to the 2003-2006 Norwell Marching Knights.

I'll try and think proactive thoughts and I'll get back to you. It does seem strange though...

Tom said...

"Why will people make huge commitments to something like high school band, but they feel it's totally wrong to give themselves to the church?"

Don't you want them to give themselves to Jesus instead?

Okay, I can hear you sighing over that sentence right now. But I think it really is putting the cart before the horse. If people aren't committed to Jesus why would they be committed to the church? And if they are committed to the church and not committed to Jesus, something that is quite common, what are they really committed too?

Isaac Horwedel said...

I agree with Tom.

As a former marching knight (that sounds silly), I can say with confidence that the reason we all believed in that certain band director was precisely because he didn't care about winning....or he defined winning in ways that were not of this world, so to speak. He always emphasized the creative process of expression through music, and the joys of being able to do that with other people, and the amount of hard work it took. Because of that, we were willing to put in the time. That certain band director loves music and loves teaching, you can't know him and not know those things that he loves, so we all believed in him. That's not to say he didn't try to win, or like to win, but those external outcomes were byproducts of his passion. I can say that this mindset did have a big affect on me and played a big part in forming the person I am now.

Other directors and coaches I've encountered seemed to emphasize winning over all else. Even if they didn't say that, it was obvious in the way they acted and the way they treated the kids in band or the sport they coached, especially when losing. I always got the impression that we were just tools for their own understanding of success, and not a part of the creative process. If we were losing we didn't matter and when we left we didn't matter.

just my $.02,

dan horwedel said...

Good points, everyone. I hadn't really thought of the negative aspects (the competitiveness). I guess on the one hand I was thinking more of the committing to "one another"... being a "community" of people. Perhaps I was assuming the commitment to Christ. Which is often a way wrong assumption.

I wonder if a lot of it boils down to ownership. I mean, I think most people will do things they are "asked" to do. But I don't know how to get people to take more ownership within the community. Where they're not doing things for ME, but they're doing them for the church (Christ's body).

I suppose it would help if I wasn't such a control freak. :\

Anyway, thanks for chiming in. Good thoughts.

JAH said...

I know we've discussed these things already - sometimes at great length - but I'll throw my thoughts out there, too. I can see your original example in many things. Band was an example we could relate to personally, but it happens in the arena or sports, work, hobbies, etc. There are many things that people will commit hours of time and attention to for many different reasons. Some want to win. Some want to look good for others. Some just want to accomplish something - even if only for themselves. I think with our faith it is hard because we don't always have immediate tangible results - sometimes we never know the outcome of what we've done. Learning to be satisfied with serving Christ simply for the love of Christ is tough. (This somehow sounded better in my head than on "paper" - but there you go.)