How does one become a motivational speaker? Why are they necessary? What separates the great (expensive?) motivational speakers from free motivational speakers? Space won’t allow all the answers even if I knew them. But here are some logical observations mixed with some great experiences.
Motivational speaking, and many other things, is learned through trial and error. A few people seem born with the ability to exhort and encourage others. Motivational speakers will always have an audience because people have bad habits. We get locked into certain paradigms and won’t change. Astute observers with reasonable communication skills can do well telling the rest of us how and why to change.
But it’s external motivation. Ever told your kids to shape up or lose their privileges? That’s external motivational speaking. Parents know they are going to have to give another ‘motivational session’ very soon. The great motivational speakers have learned to go back to that mother lode of bad human habits and find another reason to be in demand. Is there motivation that lasts? How long would a motivational speaker be in demand if they passed out lasting motivation?
Internal motivation was addressed by the Apostle Paul as he wrote about living ‘from faith to faith,’ (Rom. 1:17). That’s a profound statement, but often overshadowed by verse 16. Faith reaching out to faith is an incredibly powerful source of internal motivation. Let me illustrate.
Early in 2012 I got an email message from a pastor I didn’t know. He sent it to Rivers of the World as a general request for help. Our Executive Dir. sent it on to all the ROW staff. As I read his request to help build a church, it became a matter of faith for me. I shared his request through email and speaking engagements. Everywhere I went I asked people to pray for that pastor and his church. I later learned I didn’t even get his name right due to the forwarded emails.
In October 2012, my faith, and the prayers of many, resulted in a trip to Belize to meet this pastor. His name is Juan. We met after I had taken about an 80 minute drive into the remote jungle areas of southern Belize. We stopped in the picturesque village of Santa Teresa. When I walked up to the church I discovered about two dozen men working inside four block walls with no roof overhead. Pastor Juan was one of them. We introduced ourselves and began to talk.
I said I’d received his letter and asked him about the church. He said it was formed about 16-17 years ago and it still met in his house. From the beginning this small, faithful congregation began saving money to build a permanent facility. Around January of 2011 they began to pray for guidance regarding completion of the church. Their prayers led to a step of faith. Construction began even though they knew they didn’t have the funds (or skills) to complete the building. He then pointed to the front of the church and said, “See those cement bags? We will use those today and that is the last of the supplies we could buy with the money we saved.” We had arrived at that moment by one step of faith after another; faith to faith. I asked, “How can we help?” That church hadn’t asked for a motivational speaker and I hadn’t tried to be one. But when faith met faith, we couldn’t have been more motivated!
In 2013, I led a ROW team to roof the church. Later, we installed a water purification system for Santa Teresa and established a Pastor Training School for area pastors. Those efforts, and others, will continue this year. We are still motivated from faith to faith! You can join us…