As we close out the second month of the new decade, I decided to pull out an old memo that builds on the topic of value I shared last week. Here, we look at how value leads to commitment. Vital information every leader should know!
The Secret to CommitmentBy Dan Vis
February 24, 2020
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 commit!
To put it differently, leading your team is just 5%, the rest is getting your team to follow! Without committed buy-in, all the training in the world will do little good. To build a truly effective training ministry, we must come to understand what the Bible teaches about commitment.
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--they become committed.
The key to keeping a group committed through an extended training program begins with communicating the value of that training. If you are wanting to teach memorization, encourage them to visualize 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. When the value is clear, commitment will follow.
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.
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--but without accountability, it is all to easy to quit 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.). The closer we get to the end, the more important it's going to become!
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, and the impact of their influence, right 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 requires weighing the cost, and then determining to pay the price.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, these are always the two factors involved in commitment. It's a formula that compares the cost of the object with the value that comes from obtaining it. When we focus on the value, and that value clearly outweighs the cost, we manifest commitment. And the bigger the span between cost and value, the more committed we become!
The opposite is also true. The more closely cost and value compare with each other, the more ambivalent we become. And should the cost ever appear to outweigh the value, commitment will quickly fade.
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, to inspire others with the value of the training you offer? To urge others, by your own personal example, to pay the cost, and give their best?
That's the real question, isn't it? How committed are you?
CommentsHow 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 Dan Vis on 03/15/23 - Coach|
|Amen, that's a beautiful prayer Lana. Praying you will be able to so radiate that joy to them that can't help but see the value of it!|
|Posted by Lana Rose on 03/15/23|
|Seeing the value of the prize has been being brought home to me as I read and study. Praying for several people that the value of Jesus in our lives will be made real to them.|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 03/06/23 - Coach|
|That's the key right there Robert. When we realize the potential of what God could do through us, it makes us want to give our best. Keep plugging along there brother!|
|Posted by Robert Gonzales on 03/05/23|
|I see that commitment is vitally important. I also need to be motivated and be a motivator for others. I have not put value on me being a worker for God. I want that to change. 🙏🏽✝️🙏🏽|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 02/21/23 - Coach|
|Sounds like you have a full and beautiful life of ministry and fellowship Angie! Probably just needs some minor tweaks to squeeze in a little room for FAST. Keep doing the great work you are doing!|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 02/05/23 - Coach|
|Very cool idea Margaret. That's the right balance. Encourage, but make sure they know the cost and are willing to make the commitment. Thanks for the suggestion!|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 12/30/22 - Coach|
|You're church made a heroic effort to recruit Merilyn, but in my experience God works more slowly, person to person (Exodus 14:14The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.). But if you have 10 people participating that's really good. In fact, you may even have more as some may still be in module 1 or already in module 3 (Not sure how you checked your list).
Anyway, my recommendation--have a fellowship meal one week at someone's house and invite everyone in Revival School to participate. The best thing a church can do is connect socially outside of the online environment, which means creating venues for that.
And while you are together, you can talk as a group about how you can encourage each other. And of course, share testimonies, etc. Just my initial thought!
I'd also add, it really does take time. We have several strong disciple-makers here in our community, but most have been involved with FAST for several years, and they are only now starting to see fellow workers raised up (just my sense from the comments). In fact, that's been one of my greatest thrills this time around--seeing some of those next generation leaders affirming the work of another leader here who trained them. Can't think of anything more thrilling than that!
|Posted by Dan Vis on 12/08/22 - Coach|
|Amen! That's a beautiful testimony--that God never forgot your early commitment and brought it all to fruition in His time and way. Great post Carlota!|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 12/04/22 - Coach|
|Good illustration of the relationship between commitment and how much we value something, but also that valuing the right thing can make a difference. One was a temporary reward (wedding day), the other a lifelong benefit (good health). That's a very interesting observation give II Corinthians 4:18While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.. Good post Louise!|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 10/05/22 - Coach|
|Perfect cross reference on this topic Jo. Definitely one of the verses that shaped my thinking on this. Great post!|
|Posted by Jo Laing on 10/04/22|
|The big question for me is "how much do I value Christ?" The passage in Philippians 3:7,8But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. . . . Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, comes to mind. "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ."|
|Posted by Esther Hanson on 09/29/22|
|“Commitment requires weighing the cost, and then determining to pay the price.” This sentence really spoke to me. As I considered taking the Revival School class (knowing some of the commitments I had already made that would definitely take time away from concentrating on it) I prayed earnestly about it. As I kept reading about what the class entailed I knew it was exactly what I needed and wanted to learn. I prayed up to the last minute then decided to “commit” to doing what I saw of great value to me even though I was worried about the time it would take. I am still happy I joined this class, and I am determined to stay committed to finishing this course…..but there’s a lot!! : o
Thank you, Julio, for your comment that the cost of discipleship is the cost of our time. And oh, how true! But like you said, it not only blesses those we minister to, but it blesses us also. I, too, have experienced the joy after doing something for someone else when I just wanted to please myself. I will remember Matthew 11:28-3028 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. when I need another pep talk from Jesus!! I know He is always ready to help me. AND I know Pr. Dan and his team are here to help, too!! : )
|Posted by Julio Useche on 09/27/22|
|Whenever I think of commitment I'm reminded of marriage. A couple often commit themselves to each other in matrimony without counting the cost and ignoring many "red flags". Once in the marriage they realize the cost of commitment and sadly the result is often divorce. In our commitment to discipleship and discipling others the cost is our time. It really is a commitment to give to others of your time. Time is precious! We never get it back! But when we look at the value of investing our time in helping others we see its great worth! Self will always want to get in the way! So often I feel tired and wanting to just rest instead of giving a bible study, but after the bible study is over I am revived and joyful at sharing God's Word. It's amazing what the Word of God can do for us. It really makes sense of Jesus' words: "my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-3028 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.). The value far outweighs the cost!|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 09/24/22 - Coach|
|Nice Colette! Give me the link when it's done. I'll be happy to promote it! :) Thanks in advance Everton!
|Posted by Dan Vis on 09/23/22 - Coach|
|Those last two passages are also a great encouragement about the need for exhortation!!! It help to have friends committed to encouraging us to keep our focus on Jesus! Thanks Louise!|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 09/21/22 - Coach|
|Nice application of Matthew 6:21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.. Many people get that confused and think it says people put their money where their heart is. But as you correctly pointed out Mike, people put their heart where their money is (ie, value). Great comment!|
|Posted by Mike Carner on 09/20/22|
|I agree that seeing value in something is a great motivator. Jesus tells us that where your treasure is (what you view as truly valuable) there will your heart be also (our motivation).|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 09/20/22 - Coach|
|Exactly Sam. If we want to stay committed throughout Revival School, we need to be motivated. And that requires us to see the value of what we're pursuing. Excellent post!|
|Posted by Eleonora on 02/29/20|
|Thank you wery much for that highly valuable memo! That's something, I have to think about and where I will have to learn and change. To see the value and to exhort myself and others...|
|Posted by Qing Ling on 07/04/18 - Coach|
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.
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