The surprising science of motivation

I ran into the video of this talk on Matt Perman’s blog. He said it was definitely worth the 18 minute investment of time. He was right. 🙂

However, it’s interesting, as the speaker (Dan Pink) uses science to provide his rationale for what a good strategy is. It falls short of what God has given us.

1. He says that we probably won’t need management in the future. He’s got an interesting point in that with more self-direction people often begin working more productively. But ultimately he’s wrong because God made His universe hierarchical. To deny the need for someone directing our endeavors is to buy into the lie of autonomy. At the same time, it’s true that we are created in God’s image in order to “flesh out” (the Biblical world is “fill”) God’s design for His world. So recognizing that we each need time to creatively tackle problems is valid. Just don’t buy the lie of autonomy. 

2. He talks about meaning and purpose. As Biblical theologians, we can go far beyond just having purpose in life for ourselves. We see that we fit into God’s grand design—not just to sit back and relax, but to be involved in things that matter for eternity. There is something truly awesome about using the temporary things of life for eternal purposes. Only Christians can see this, and our God will fulfill His plan.

3. An interesting point for pastors: What ultimately motivates your people is not results (bigger building, more people, etc.); it’s knowing that you’re part of something as vast as the eternal plan of God and that God is calling each one of your people, not just the pastors, to be involved in the work. A great sermon I listened to this week on the subject of the local church by Thabiti Anyabwile can be found here. The analogy of the church and a picture by your four-year-old is worth the 15 minutes it takes to get to that point too. 😉