According to our Indigenous Leadership Research Project there are 3 main factors that help an urban teen transition from growing spiritual into living a ministry lifestyle; 1) relationships with true Mentors (discussed in detail here) 2) access to Leadership Opportunities (discussed in detail here). The last main factor is the development of urban youths’ own Internal Motivation.
What is Internal Motivation?
Interviewing the young leaders revealed to us something that the researchers called “internal motivation.” Somewhere in the process of growing in their relationship with Christ, these young people took ownership of their ministry growth as believers. They moved from “I have to be a ministry leader because others expect it of me” to “I want to be a leader for Jesus Christ.” Somehow, the Holy Spirit did His the work of transforming the motivations of each of these young people so that they were moved by their own aspirations to be fully devoted followers of Christ. From this motivation, they began to influence others to follow Christ also. These young leaders were no longer solely relationally dependent on another person for their spiritual growth and choices, but moved towards a personal dependence on Christ based on their own convictions, connecting with God through prayer and the Word.
Questions to Consider:
- What can a ministry leader do to move young people toward internal motivation? We’ve discussed the importance of mentor relationships, but we must ensure that the mentors are well trained. Part of their mentorship relationships will be to encourage urban youth to pray and search God Word to develop their own decision making grid for their lives instead of constantly depending on the mentor to tell them what is right.
- What actions must we take to encourage urban youth to follow God when we aren’t around? Have you considered that some ministries have created an ethos where students are only “following God” when they are around other Christian adults? Much internal motivation can result from helping urban youth to develop a personal relationship with the Lord as opposed to simply attending programs. By encouraging urban youth to develop ongoing prayer conversations with God and to read the Word on their own, you will help them grow their internal motivation to follow Him in all areas of their lives.
Thoughts? Ideas? Comments?