The Motive

For Starters

  • What motivates you to come to this group? Talk about this with one another.
    In general, what is more important, motives or results?
    You could divide into two teams and arrange beforehand for each team to argue one or other of these options.

It’s A Matter of Motive

Let’s look at some of the things that have motivated people to engage in evangelism. Mind you, people are rarely motivated by one simple thing; it’s usually a combination of factors. But have a look at this list:

A divine, inner compulsion.

A sense of duty.

The desire to be a big and successful church.

To improve church finances.

To compete successfully with other local denominations.

To save souls from hell.

To combat the inroads being made by other religions.

The example of other Christians.

The desire to share something exciting and important.

The expansion of Christianity.

For discussion

Which of these are consistent with the model of evangelism set by Jesus?

Read Philippians 1:15-18

Paul contrasts the love motive in evangelism with motives of selfish ambition, jealousy and rivalry. Yet he seems to suggest that the motivation doesn’t really matter. Or perhaps he is saying that even when evangelism is engaged in from less than perfect motives it can still be used by God.

What do you think?

Love as Motivation

God is love (1 John 4:16). God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him might have life, life in all its fullness, life as God wants people to live it (John 3:16). It was love that prompted God to be involved in the world through Jesus Christ.

Jesus pinpointed the key to God’s law when he highlighted the commandment about loving God with all of one’s heart, mind, soul and strength and loving one’s neighbour as oneself (Matthew 22:37-40). Love is meant to be the motive force behind the Christian life as a whole, so it is also meant to be the motivation behind the church’s mission.

Evangelism should be an expression of love to God and love to neighbour. We share the message because we revel in God’s love and grace and want to serve him and also because of the love we have for men and women, girls and boys. Our love will not allow us to sit idly by as they tangle themselves ever more completely in the waterweeds of sin and selfishness.

For Discussion

Love is a commonly used word, but what does it mean? Look at this list of definitions and tick those that seem appropriate to you when talking about Christian love.

Love is a spiritual link-up.

Love is a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Love is tenderness.

Love is another word for sex.

Love is commitment.

Love is admiration.

Love is a mystery.

Love is the shifting of concern for oneself to concern for another.

Read 1 John 4:7-21

What does this passage tell you about love?

Love is both the way and the destination

If evangelism is an invitation for people to know God’s love, to live in that love, to be part of God’s kingdom of love then love has to be the means and motive whereby it is engaged in.

For discussion

      • If the first step in evangelism is learning to love both God and other people, how can we grow in that love?
      • Some say that we have to earn the right to share our faith with others: in what way could this be true?

On a Lighter Note

This sign was seen at a display of “I love you only” Valentine cards: Now available in multi-packs.

For discussion

Has the word love been so cheapened that it is of no use in evangelism today?


Open up 1 Corinthians 13 and pray silently for God to give you this gift.

Pray that our church community may be a seedbed for the growth of Christ-like love