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When it comes to getting people motivated some religious leaders love to use fear, guilt and shame. However, fear, guilt and shame are only effective in motivating most people in the short run. Actually, the Bible says, "The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever puts his trust in the Lord is safe." Others use threats, intimidation or anger to motivate their people. The Bible says, "The anger of man does not bring about the righteousness of God." Instead of relying on extrinsic motivations, we should first discover an individual's best intrinsic motivations. A person convinced against their will is of the same opinion still.

Do not be surprised if members of some denominations accuse you of using psychological-babble. All truth is God's truth. Many reactionaries see motivation as a suspect enterprise, a pseudo-science. Some ultra conservatives think motivation talks are a carnal effort to use "secular psycho-babble" as a replacement for sound Biblical teaching. Learn how each person is motivated according to their individual norms. Some groups primarily use external motivations such as societal pressures to bring about their desired ends. For example, a student at our Nigerian seminary named Adamu, did not want to marry someone from his tribe. To his elders, Adamu's decision implied a total rejection of their societies' values. The elders warned him that he must comply with the traditional values or he would be considered persona-non-grata. Very few men in Africa are willing to refuse their tribal elders' wishes for fear of the penalties. Each young man is expected to follow the specific cultural norms of courtship. When a young man marries he is expected to treat his wife, children and extended family members according to his own tribal conventions. If the young man fails to live up to these culturally normal behaviors, he risks alienation. Marriage is seen as a way of helping the whole tribe preserve itself and its cherished values.

Eventually, Adamu married to please his father who had already paid the bride price for his recently deceased senior brother. The father could not refund the money since he had already used it to purchase a corn grinding machine. Adamu married to save his father from shame. Anything less would have meant alienation from the extended family unit. The reason many parents do not lead their children in the right direction is because the parents aren't going that way themselves.

Many western societies are not group-oriented and they value individual freedom of choice. In western civilizations each person is given the liberty to choose whom they would like to marry or to remain single. Individual freedom is much more important in the western cultures based on one's unique education, family background, and community of friends.

Some people are able to overcome severe handicaps because of their internal motivations. In 1954, Roger Bannister, having one leg shorter than the other, claimed he would be the first man to break the four-minute mile. After years of painful training, Roger ran the first sub four-minute mile in the time of 3 minutes 59.7 seconds. The more amazing part of his life story is not what he accomplished, but how he affected others through his faith. Within one year, 24 other men also broke the four-minute mile mark. Today, the barrier is no longer a significant obstacle as every year thousands break the mark. When people saw that a handicapped man like Roger Bannister could do it, they figured that any able-bodied man could do the same. Faith opens the door of limitless possibilities for motivated people ready to take risks. The best kind of motivation depends on several key factors. Some refer to the three R's of motivation. The right rewards, right relationships, and right reasons. These three elements are expressed in the following areas:

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