Motivation and Creative Ministry 

Motivation and Creative Ministry  February 29, 2024

What's My Motivation? Illustration by the author
What’s My Motivation? Illustration by the author

You have probably seen it because it’s one of the oldest movie cliches in the book. An actor, usually a painfully snotty and self-obsessed one, goes to the director and says, “What’s my motivation?” If you’ve seen it, the quote may leave a bad taste in your mouth, but when it comes to creative ministry, “What’s my motivation?” is a very important question. It’s one all us Christian creatives should ask ourselves often. 

What Should Be Our Motivation?

It’s simple really. If we are attempting to serve the Lord with our creative gifts, which is what creative ministry is all about, then our motivation should be to glorify God. We should be motivated to point others to Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:14 reminds us that the “love of Christ compels us” to do this very thing. 

The Love of Christ Compels Us

In the context of the passage, 2 Corinthians 5  shows us Paul speaking on this idea of the ministry of reconciliation. Starting with verse 11, where it says,  “Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others.” In view of the Salvation we find in Christ, our hearts should be burdened to share the love and grace that we have found. If we believe that apart from Christ, we are lost, surely it should be the mission of every Christian to help the lost to be found. It should be a great desire of our lives to help people to find this amazing love and grace we have been freely given. 

From here Paul goes on to speak of the example he has set for the Corinthians, and    

giving [them] “an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart.” There were some in Corinth who would have liked to portray Paul as “one fry short of a happy meal.”  Paul replies to this by saying If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.” In this Paul shows his motivation. It’s not so people will think well of him, or think of him as important or even sane. What he cares about is the people God has given him to care for. In this, he is showing them a kingdom motivation.  

From there he goes into his compulsion. “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” If you’re looking for motivation for your creative ministry, right there is it.

Christ died for us and with faith in Him, we die to ourselves and do our sin so we can live for Him. In Christ, we don’t live for ourselves and we do not create for ourselves. Rather we live and create for the one who died for us and rose again. Christ becomes our motivation for life and everything in it. 

Transformative Power

If we create, motivated by the love of Christ, pointing people to Christ, and those people we point to Christ receive Him, something amazing happens, 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! The gospel of Christ holds within it the power to change lives. What greater motivation is there than realizing that God can use your humble gift to change lives? But there’s more to it that just life change.  

Ministry of Reconciliation 

Sin separates us from God, but God doesn’t want to be separated from us. Because of this verse 18 tells us that God gave us Jesus to reconcile us to Himself. Then once we have been reconciled through to God Christ, God give us the ministry of reconciliation: which Paul explains concisely in verse 19. “that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”

Once we have received salvation we are entrusted to share the message of Salvation. From the perspective of creative ministry, if we use our creative gifts to serve the Lord, and God uses them to help people to come to follow Jesus, our work will take on new significance—eternal significance.  

Christ’s Ambassadors

Verse 20 tells us, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” Ambassadors are people who live in one land but represent their homeland. As Christians, we represent the Kingdom of God in this world. As such we are entrusted to bring this world the message of our King, and His message is simple. “Be reconciled to God.” It would not be too much of a stretch to say our motivation can then be salvation, transformation and reconciliation, which lead to liberation. 

Finally the passages closes by showing graphically what God has done for us in Jesus. Verse 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Jesus took on our sin, so that we could receive His righteousness. It’s the great exchange, and God’s ultimate message for the world. I believe this is God’s purpose in giving us our gifts. He wants to use us and our gifts to make changes in people’s lives. Talk about a great motivation. 

What Gets in the Way?

So if this is such a great motivation, why can it be so hard to get there sometimes? What gets in the way? The short answer is self. In our world it is far easier to look our for number one. It’s easier to want to worry about our legacy and our desires. It can be really easy to get caught up in fame and fortune, and success, and a lot of other things that point to us. How many employment ads have you seen that seek someone who is “self-motivated?” My question is, “Is that really a good thing?” Is it better to be self centered or others-focused. I think this passage from 2 Corinthians 5, makes a pretty good case for being motivated by God’s Kingdom values over self. 

Jesus said it even more clearly when He said in Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  It’s as if Jesus is saying to us, “Don’t chase after the things of this world. I know what you need and I have you covered. Seek God’s Kingdom and His righteousness and He will take care of everything else. Once again it’s a matter of faith that breeds faithfulness. For more on this see my most recent post. 


As far as motivations for creative ministry go, being self-motivated is a trap. Don’t look for fame and fortune. Instead look to Jesus. Represent Him. Help people be reconciled to God through Him. Be Christ motivated. Have a kingdom mindset. Pray that God would inspire you to create what He would have you create and that He would use your creations to make people into new creations. It would be hard to find a better motivation.  

About Dave Weiss
Dave Weiss is a pastor and a traveling speaker. He has written and/or illustrated many self-published books and has his MDIV and DMIN, both with a concentration in Creative Arts Ministry. He is married to his wife Dawn and has two adult sons and a grandson named David. You can see more about his ministry at You can read more about the author here. You can read more about the author here.

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