Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Motivating a Spiritual Workout

Gyms are a place where we group together a whole heap of exercise machines in one spot so you can do a range of physical workouts at your own convenience.  In recent years the gym industry has boomed.  Why? Well I think it's having a location to go to, which you pay for, away from your home that motivates you to actually go and do a physical workout.  At home it's too easy to relax and slack off.  But if you know you're having 90 minutes at the gym, most of that will be used up on the machines.  Plus if your paying $10 or more a week for the privilege of using that equipment you're going to want to go numerous times a week so you get your money's worth.  In the lifestyle of today people are paying for that 'motivation' just as much as they're paying for state-of-the-art exercise equipment.

So what's the Spiritual equivalent? Churches? Home groups? Personal devotions? I'm not sure any of those completely portray the motivation a gym represents.  Churches should, but it's too easy to slip into a routine laziness every Sunday, turn up, sit down, sing, 'listen', have a cuppa, go home.  Home groups are great, but again it's very easy to miss a few weeks, not do the readings during the week and not really take home anything of substance for the week ahead apart from a Tim Tam and coffee you had for supper.  I heard somewhere last week that a recent survey states 80% of Australian Christians don't have a regular quiet time.

I'm wondering what the answer is.  For me I do find it in my personal devotion times - I have a very systematic way of working through passages and marking/highlighting different parts of the passage with different colours according to how it is speaking to me.  I find this approach works to not only devotionaly encourage my faith but also stimulate my mind and spirit in teaching, correcting, trust and faithfulness.

So how do we as pastors, leaders, or teachers facilitate a motivating spiritual workout in Church and Home Group which will at least encourage people to do their own spiritual workouts.  People don't have the motivation of money spent, and personal devotions don't have the motivation of going somewhere away from home.  What's the balance, and what's the added element to motivate our congregations to want greater Spiritual strength and knowledge?

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