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The Secret to Commitment
By Dan Vis
June 25, 2018
Comments: 8

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There are a lot of important principles that go into building an effective discipleship team: properly promoting the class, choosing the right time and place to meet, a solid orientation meeting, a curriculum based on the right building blocks, how well you follow the biblical model for training, and much more. But these keys are only part of the solution. The real challenge is getting the members of your team to stick with their training, all the way to the end!

To put it differently (and perhaps more accurately), getting started is just 5%, the rest is following through! To establish an effective training center, it is important to understand what the Bible teaches about commitment.

Seeing Value
While the word "commitment" is not found in the Bible, Jesus actually told several parables on the subject:

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. Matthew 13:44-4644 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. 45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: 46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

In both of these parables, the men clearly demonstrated commitment. Both were highly motivated to achieve the object of their desire. And both of these men were successful in acquiring what they wanted. From this we see that commitment is essential to success. Without it, there can be no effective training.

Perhaps more important--these parables show that commitment comes through correctly discerning the value of an object. The first man went and sold all that he had "with joy" for he knew the worth of that treasure hid in the field. Likewise, the merchant eagerly sacrificed all to acquire that one special pearl, for it was "of great price." Neither saw their purchase as a loss, but rather as a gain. The same is true of training. When a person correctly grasps the value of what they are learning--commitment naturally follows.

The key to keeping a group committed through an extended training program is simply to communicate the value of the training. Encourage them to imagine the impact of having hundreds of verses alive and fresh on the tip of their tongue; the potential of being able to live a life of consistent, diligent discipleship; the joys of being able to share their faith with friends and consistently see at least some come to Christ. And then do it again and again. Value deepens commitment.

On the other hand, let your group lose sight of your training's value--and things quickly degenerate into a string of endless objectives. Team members will lose heart. To persevere, we must encourage them to keep the prize constantly before their eyes (Philippians 3:13-1413 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.). They must look ahead to the joy set before them (Hebrews 12:2Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.). We must teach them to focus on value.


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Count the Cost
Of course, the other side of commitment is also revealed in these parables--that there is a cost for things of value. And there is definitely a cost to training: coming to meetings on time; faithfully completing one's Bible studies in advance; memorizing assigned verses--and quoting them word-perfect; participating in group discussions; carrying out witnessing objectives; praying faithfully for fellow team members. All are essential! And all take self-denial and sacrifice.

A lack of commitment will lead to half-hearted efforts in these areas, and in time, will spread and weaken the resolve of others in the group to give their best. A high level of commitment, in contrast, will not only motivate group members to strive for excellence, it will encourage others who see it to excel as well. It will spur the entire group toward success.

The Bible is clear about the power of our influence: "exhort one another daily . . . lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end" (Hebrews 3:13-1413 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;). The prize goes to those who finish--and yet how easy it is to quit just short of the goal! Sin comes in so subtly, and we end up distracted or discouraged. But the solution is clear: exhortation. "Consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works . . . exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching" (Hebrews 10:24-2524 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.). Clearly this is going to become increasingly important the closer we get to the end!

In order for a team to be successful, each member must understand the power of their influence. Each must recognize their personal responsibility to encourage others in the group, by their example and words. For it is only when each person gives their individual best--and challenges others to do their best as well, that the group will realize its full potential. Together, the group must press forward together in pursuit of its shared objective: becoming workers for Jesus Christ.

This is what it means to count the cost. Before joining a training program, we must challenge each person to evaluate their commitment at the outset. "For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?" (Luke 14:28For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?). Commitment involves weighing both cost and value, and choosing to pay the price.

What about you? How much value do you place on becoming a worker for Jesus Christ? Are you willing to do what it takes to truly follow Him? Do you understand the power of personal influence, and are you determined, by your example, to urge others on to give their best? To inspire them again and again with the value of what you are doing?

That's the real question, isn't it? Just how committed am I?


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Comments

How important is motivation? Commitment? Focusing on value? Counting the cost? Share an experience related to one of these concepts in the comments below. What practical things do you do to inspire motivation in others?

Posted by Qing Ling on 07/04/18

Galatians 5:9
A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

setting the example is crucial to getting any traction with multiplying. to inspire motivation in others, we need to be motivated ourselves. Drinking from the living well will motivate us and empower us to go out and leaven the whole lump - infiltrate and influence the entire church through our own excitement for the Word of God. Practically, this will mean not keeping to ourselves, but actually intentionally bringing up the ways that God's Word has been impacting our personal lives -sharing a testimony here and there about how God spoke intimately to us through His Word. This communicates to others the kind of value that God's Word is to us.
When I share testimonies like this with others, they get motivated... to a point. so I need to make plans to maintain contact with these same people who got the spark in their eyes when they saw what I had and wanted the same for themselves.. but then went home and life's weeds choked back their good intentions.. because they need that ongoing support for a little while before they finally cultivate the habit of spending quality time with God on their own.
It's like charging someone's car batteries that have gone flat. with a little bit of charge, they can start their car again...but a bit more charging time is needed before you can disconnect and their car can make the drive home without your battery power.

Posted by Dan Vis on 06/28/18
Wow, you've been busy Esther! :) Exciting to hear your enthusiasm. It will be exciting to see what God does through you in your church. Be sure to keep me posted and let me know if there's anything I can do to help. All the best!
Posted by Esther Hanson on 06/28/18

Thank you Dan, a hundred fold! This month I completed THE LOST ART, AWE, EXPLOSION BLUEPRINT, and now after reading this Monday Memo, I am so encouraged to press on and share all these wonderful resources which have blessed me so much in my walk with Jesus and my commitment to to Him to be His faithful witness. Your words:

"Just as we can't teach what we don't know ... We can't train something we don't do. So our personal growth is the most important key to training"

My heart is so full with gratitude to God and to FAST for helping me grow, and the need to keep growing, and the understanding of the importance of sharing it all with others. Praying for the right time to share FAST with our young new pastor. God be praised! Thank you also, Dan, for this ministry.

Posted by Dan Vis on 06/25/18

So glad to hear each of you found this article helpful. That's always an encouragement that we are on the right track in what we share.

All the best Valerie in either rekindling your group or getting a new one started. I'm sure God has just the right people in your church somewhere. It's just finding them.

Yes, you are right Joyce. These principles work in many contexts beyond just a FAST team. It's absolutely vital to incorporate a focus on things that build commitment and motivation in personal Bible work.

Congrats David! Excited to hear the good news. Keep us posted on the progress in your church! Exciting to hear what God is doing there in El Paso!

There is a lot in here Carole. And yes, so important to pray for our own commitment and motivation. So easy for that to fade without constant attention to the value of eternal realities. Glad you were inspired by this. :)

Posted by Carole Bliss on 06/25/18
In order to be successful with anything, we need to be motivated. I have to pray for this. We need to be committed to achieve what we set out to do. We need to remind ourselves, how much we need His Word in our hearts, we need to feed on them, as we go through trials, and we need to share them with others.
Encourage others, pray for others, be cheerful.
This message has so much in it to digest. Thank-you, Dan.
Blessings,
Carole
Posted by David Grabe on 06/25/18

Greetings, Pastor Dan & all my FAST Friends, in the Sweet Name of Jesus!

Thank you so much for this Monday Memo. Our Church Bd met yesterday and enthusiastically approved the Discipleship Group I wanted to help get started. I echo what Joyce & Valerie have stated: using these principles you have laid out to help our fellow members to "grow in grace & knowledge of Him & to send Biblical motivational text messages to "encourage our members to "see the value for what they are committing their time & energy to.
I especially appreciated your statement, "In order for a team to be successful, each member must understand the power of their influence. Each must recognize their personal responsibility to encourage others in the group, by their example and words. For it is ONLY when each person gives their individual best--and challenges others to do their best as well, that the group will realize its full potential."

Covet earnestly your prayers as I seek the LORD's direction in this opportunity for our church in El Paso!

Exodus 33:14And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.
Deuteronomy 33:25Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.
I Samuel 7:12Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us.   

Posted by Joyce Augustinis on 06/25/18
I can use these principles with my Bible study students and keep them working on growing in the knowledge of the faith. But especially growing in Christian experience. It's also a motivation to me to keep on being faithful in what I do each day to grow in grace.
Posted by Valerie Wise Burrell on 06/25/18
Reading this memo has increased my resolve to pursue the steps of Disciple-Making with the small worship group of which I am a part. We have not met for a few weeks and two of its members are moving away. There are few if any responses to my text messages yet after reading this I intend to send short but Biblical motivational texts so that there might be a re-interest kindled. I also see this change as an opportunity to create a new group.
I praise God, Dan, for the Monday Memos.

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