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Missions 101

The Motive and Driving Force of Evangelism

Jan. 18, 2012By: Ben StaffordAuthor Bio

The first five posts in this series have been an introduction to most of what is to come in the months ahead as I write, with the help of my friend Mike Greene on Evangelism in the Acts of the Apostles and it's relevance for us.  See this post for the introduction to the series. 

This post begins a short subset series in which we will examine the motive and driving force of evangelism in the book of Acts.  There are likely more than I list - please feel free to submit your own thoughts and additions in the comments.  
I asked the following questions in the last post. They are worth asking again as we go deeper the next few weeks into discovering the motives for evangelism:

-What are or have been your motives for evangelism?  
-What would you like them to be?  Why?
-What do you think were the motives of the early church for evangelism?
These are worth pondering and this subject worth taking slowly because God cares immensely for motives.  We can do right actions all day, but if our motives are selfish or our actions were not done in faith, we have done little more than poured water into broken cisterns.  Having the right motives all the time is not easy.  However, we do have the Holy Spirit in us to work in and through us to do the impossible - not only producing good fruit but renewing our inward mind. A friend recently counseled me, "…even if you don't have the right motives, do the right action anyway and pray for God to give you the right motive."   Amen.
Indeed, even though at times we, and others may have wrong motives for doing good things, we should still rejoice in what was done:  The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition….What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice (Philippians 1:17-18 ESV). 
Before examining the motives one by one beginning next week, take the time to ask yourself some questions:
What is the driving force in your life? We all have one. Sometimes it is fierce, in some it is obvious, in others quiet and methodical. What is yours? What gets you up out of bed; what drives you to church; What drives you to walk by the Spirit despite the flesh; what drives you to proclaim Christ and to missions?
Next week we will look at the Apostles. Before doing so, the words of Derek Kidner, on King David's 13th Psalm come to mind: "Whether verse 3 means that illness was the cause or the effect of this low ebb in David's affairs, these two verses show what were the two poles of his world: God, but for whom life would be unsupportable, and the enemy, because of whom any wavering (4b) must be unthinkable. Awareness of God and the enemy is virtually the hallmark of every Psalm of David; the positive and negative charge which produced the driving force of his best years." (italics mine)
May we, like David, King Jesus, and the Apostles ever have burning within us an awareness and profound sense of God, the motive we will examine next week. (source: Psalms 1-72; Derek Kidner)

Ben Stafford is the Director of Short-Term Ministries, overseeing the logistics and vision of all the short-term trips as well as representing TLI to students, teachers, and other organizations. Before joining TLI, Ben was the Director of Programs at the Foundation for Economic Education where he oversaw the educational events geared towards high school and college students. His work primarily involved strategic planning, managing, and measuring the department’s resources and results, bringing the programs department to a new level. Previously, he worked as a research intern for two summers at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. He still teaches students of all ages about business and economics on the side.

Ben graduated in 2008 from Hillsdale College with a degree with Economics. He enjoys real food, barefoot runs, playing classical guitar, climbing mountains, and international travel. More than all these, he echoes the sentiment of Jonathan Edwards in that God’s purpose for his life is that he have a passion for God’s glory and that he has a passion for his joy in that glory, and that these two are one passion.

He currently resides in Atlanta, GA where he is actively involved with the saints at Perimeter Church.

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