What accounts for the major differences between leaders and followers? Why is it that what motivates YOU as a leader, fails to move your people at all? Why will they respond to the evangelist who presses all their emotional buttons and remain aloof to you as you speak about the wonders of Heaven, of the blessing of God and the rewards to the righteous?
As a leader, odds are that you are a visually oriented person, who is motivated by the hope of reward, growth and moving towards goals. You are inspired by POSITIVE examples. You tend to be INTERNALLY motivated, knowing from the inside what you should be going in. No matter what people say about you, you have an inner knowing about your life and your calling. That’s what enables you to keep on keeping on.
When you preach and teach, you preach and teach things that would motivate YOU, if YOU were in the pew. And that’s why the reaction is less than you hoped for. YOU are not in the pew. Your people are. And they’re not like you in some very significant ways.
The typical person drawn to a Pentecostal or charismatic type church could be accurately described in the following profile. Of course there will be exceptions and there will be minor variations. However, if you tailor your outreach to the person you’re about to meet, you’ll find that you’ll hit home most of the time.
Bob tends to be a FEELER as opposed to a thinker. That’s one of the things that brings him to church in the first place: He wants an EXPERIENCE where he FEELS the presence of God. If your church has the music and ATMOSPHERE that he associates with the presence of God, he’ll be very open to the rest of your service.
As a feeler, or kinesthetic, Bob’s decisions will be based on how he FEELS during the various parts of the service. He relates to his world through feelings and places. To speak Bob’s language use kinesthetic vocabulary.
Most Pentecostals are people who MOVE AWAY from. What motivates Bob is to GET AWAY from the world, to LEAVE his sins, to CAST OFF his guilt, to MISS the Tribulation and to AVOID hell. He might not know what he wants, but he KNOWS WHAT HE DOESN’T WANT. Bob doesn’t want to go to hell. Doesn’t want to be a hypocrite. And, doesn’t want his Pastor to be a liberal. So you’d better be against enough stuff.
In keeping with this, Bob’s more motivated by the FEAR OF PUNISHMENT or RETRIBUTION, than he is by promise of reward. If, given the same options, you tell him that a certain course of action can bring him God’s richest blessing while if he DOESN’T do it, he’ll MISS OUT on a blessing, and God will come against him, he’ll be the most moved by the second approach.
If you want him to grow, make progress or move ahead, speak to him in terms of NOT MOVING BACKWARDS, or of BEING LEFT OUT, BEING LEFT BEHIND. You might want to mention someone else, a BAD EXAMPLE, and remind Bob that he DOESN’T want to be like that person, does he?
Along with knowing who and what he DOESN’T WANT TO BE LIKE, Bob FEARS CHANGE and is WARY OF NEW IDEAS. Bob’s afraid he’ll accept something that’s wrong and be punished for it.
That brings us to another area. He DISTRUSTS HIS OWN JUDGEMENT. Bob feels he could easily be deceived or tricked into backsliding without realizing it. Once he believes something, he’ll cling to it, no matter what his inner doubts might say. His inner voice doesn’t matter; he dismisses it as the devil.
Socially Bob feels left out; PERSECUTED. And, it’s all because of the Gospel. Bob feels like people reject him because of his Christ-likeness. That, in fact he could have been rich and famous, if it hadn’t been for his decision to “LEAVE ALL THAT BEHIND” to become a disciple.
In your dealings with Bob, you’ll notice that he tends to still feel a little inferior and in many ways helpless, but DEEP DOWN, IN HIS HEART OF HEARTS, HE FEELS LIKE HE’S HEARD THE VOICE OF GOD AND IS RIGHT. And, on the Judgement Day, you and everyone else will find out he WAS right.
One of the happiest moments for Bob will be when others will have to fall on their faces and admit that Jesus is Lord and that Bob was right and they were all wrong! “THEN they’ll know! They’ll find out I was right all along and THEY were WRONG!”
Along with the sense of being not fitting in, he tends to OVERPERSONALIZE everything possible. If things slack off at work, it’s because Bob hasn’t been reading his Bible like he should lately. Or, because he witnessed to his boss and the boss refused to get saved. Now God is teaching the boss a lesson – to listen to Bob when he talks about God.
Don’t try to convince Bob that things ALWAYS slow down this time of year. He knows better. Downturns as well as upturns on the job are directly connected to his spiritual life and activity.
When things pick back up at work and the business is prospering, you can be sure that it’s because Bob increased his giving at church and is praying more at lunchtime. Again, he is personally responsible for the blessing or cursing of the entire company he works for.
This is important for you to know, as a Pastor. Because, if you hurt Bob’s feelings and attendance is down the next week, it’s because YOU were wrong, and God is trying to humble you for crossing Bob’s. (Even though attendance is ALWAYS down that particular Sunday.
When you make up, of course within a matter of weeks, attendance will be up, just wait and see! Both good and bad events are rooted in Bob and his spiritual relationships.
No matter how boldly Bob proclaims his faith, deep down he has a fear of going to hell – a fear that at the last minute God will say that he didn’t witness enough, or that he had an unconfessed sin or something. There is always the FEAR OF PUNISHMENT DUE TO HIS INADEQUACY as a person. The same sense of inadequacy that drove him to salvation in the first place haunts Bob quietly throughout his life.
To explain his sense of mild paranoia (persecution for the Gospel’s sake) Bob has developed a “we-they” mentality, one that is rife with CONSPIRACIES. Conspiracies that secretly control the government; secret groups who are trying to wipe out all Christians – especially Christians like Bob.
On the job too, people are being manipulated by a handful of untrustworthy and scheming fat cats. They operate behind the scenes, and decide ways of holding Bob and others back. It’s because they’re really threatened by Bob being there. If Bob gets a pay cut or is fired, it ISN’T because Bob was doing inferior work – no, it was because they were jealous of Bob, threatened by his spiritually, or because God had sent Bob there on a mission and these people had hardened their hearts against Bob, I mean God.
At church, Bob KNOWS people get together and talk about him. They decide to leave him out of things, and they intentionally don’t invite him to events that he would love to go. God would be able to bless the church in a greater way, if it wasn’t for the people who coming against Bob out of jealousy. Remember, there’s ALWAYS a conspiracy. (Well, at church it’s just a “clique.”)
Sometimes the Holy Spirit will tell Bob to leave a church. Maybe after the Pastor wouldn’t listen to what the Holy Spirit was saying to him through Bob. So, Bob has to leave, usually taking with him the anointing of God. Bob KNOWS that the church he’s leaving is going to shrivel and dwindle away, because those people hardened their hearts against the Holy Spirit. Plus, his new church will experience great outpourings because of the presence of the Holy Spirit he’s bringing with him.
Having not achieved like he wishes he could have, Bob DISTRUSTS PEOPLE WHO ARE MORE SUCCESSFUL than he is. Obviously, they’re crooks, compromisers and cheats. Otherwise they’d be in the same situation HE is in. “At least I can SLEEP at night!” Bob brags.
As a Pastor, NEVER hint that you approve of people being “successful”. Effective, yes. Used by God, definitely. But “successful”, NEVER! By the way, educated people are another group to be regarded with suspicion. So are medical doctors.
In the spiritual realm, Bob would tell you to look out for the devil. Far from being defeated, the devil is active, alive and well. He talks, no, chatters constantly. He’s ALWAYS telling people to mess up Bob’s life and regularly gets Bob to make wrong decisions. The devil even tried to talk Bob into committing suicide a couple of times. The devil gets into Bob’s wife at times. And Bob’s boss. And the kids. And anyone else Bob’s having problems with at the moment.
If YOU disagree with Bob, it will be because the devil is lying to YOU, too! That old devil is actively involved in Bob’s everyday life, and is bent on personally destroying Bob, because Bob is such a threat to the devil’s well-being.
You’ll discover, by the way, that ANY time people disagree with Bob, it’s because they’re jealous or threatened by him. They’re scared that Bob’s really better than they are, or smarter, so they conspire to hold him back. It happens at church quite a bit, too. Whenever one of Bob’s ideas isn’t accepted, its ALWAYS because it’s such a great idea that the REST of the church was jealous because THEY didn’t come up with it first. They only voted it down because of WHO had the idea.
There’s NEVER the sense that life is fair. Bob feels that everyone plays “favorites”. If you pick someone besides him to receive recognition, it’s NEVER because the other person is. That’s all. It’s because the other person had someone put a good word in for them, or because they’re friends with you. If you truly fair, you would have given Bob the recognition and the limelight. It just shows Bob how even YOU listen to your flesh; so he’d better not rely on what you say too much.
Bob tends to be an up and down kind of person emotionally. One day, life is great and God is blessing him, and the next day he just can’t wait to get out of this wicked old world with all its trials and problems. Odds are, on days like this, Bob has either been held accountable for some of his actions, got a speeding ticket, a reaming out on the job, or he just saw his Mastercard balance.
Bob’s level of victory on a day to day basis is strongly tied in with how he is feeling physically and emotionally. He is EXTERNALLY DIRECTED. Events, circumstances and other peoples’ reactions to him are how he decides whether it’s God or the devil who is having a heyday.
OTHER PEOPLE’S OPINIONS are EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to Bob. Sinners shouldn’t like him too much. Saints should revere him and recognize the anointing in his life, even if they don’t ever fully understand him. Bob knows that the spiritual walk is a lonely walk, made on one’s knees. If he has too many friends, it might be a sign that he’s compromising with the world.
What other people think about Bob’s level of righteousness and spirituality is very important to him. More important than the truth. Bob can be in sin, and what’s most important to him is, “Do OTHER people know about this? What if they find out?” That’s what matters to Bob.
In fact, you can easily get the impression that if it wasn’t for other people finding out and thinking ill of him, Bob would do anything he felt like. As long as nobody found out. “Pastor, I just don’t want you to think I’m a hypocrite, and for my wife to look down on me.” That’s what Bob would say when confronted with his extra-marital affair.
What about God? Well, God’s pretty much like Bob is. He’s nice and means well, but very touchy and sensitive. And very easily offended. You never know when something that God has taken offense at, and now He’s mad at you. Without you even realizing it. Pretty much like Bob, come to think of it. (Some people say that you get like Whom you worship. In Bob’s case, he worships what’s like him.)
If it wasn’t blasphemous, one could almost say God is moody. If Bob does something wrong and then repents (when he fears people might find out!) God will forgive Bob, but it takes Him a while to get over it. It might be two or three months before God uses him again to speak in tongues or sing a “special” in the services.
Also, like Bob, God’s prone to depression and is often misunderstood. He grieves and gets heartbroken regularly, when people don’t live up to His high expectations. He seems to be upset, hurt and offended more frequently than not. He sometimes gets impatient, and seems powerless. He comes across as needing Bob as much as Bob needs Him. Bob could never bring himself to put this into words. It just is the underlying message of many of Bob’s stories and personal anecdotes.
At the same time God is so emotionally like the Bob, He is at the same time everything that the Bob ISN’T. He’s kind, loving, fair and just. This is a comfort to Bob. He knows that God understands him completely. Sometimes God is Bob’s best friend and other times God is his righteous Judge. But God ALWAYS basically agrees with Bob’s theology and responses to other people. That’s what makes Him God!
The last big one, one that you can’t afford to overlook: To Bob, love=pain. If I love you, I suffer. See how much I hurt because I love you? Bob keeps reminding himself of the pain that Jesus went through in order that Bob wouldn’t have to go to hell.
Bob’s pastor had better make it plain how he hurts because of his love for Bob and the rest of God’s people. In fact, Bob left his last church because the pastor there didn’t seem real – he didn’t hurt enough. Bob’s new pastor is a real man of God. He loves the people so much he’s financially nearly bankrupt. But the love of the Lord shines on his face.
Bob tends to see things in black and white. No shades of gray. If something has a small problem or a person has a flaw, write them off. Throw out the baby with the bathwater. There’s no such thing as making small adjustments, or overlooking a few faults. You know, like the Bible says about flies in ointment.
Bob can readily tell you how the past was better than the present. Christians were more committed then. They were more holy. God did greater miracles, and things were all around so much more godly. That was back when Bob first got saved. Why, back then, you wouldn’t even be ALLOWED to stand up and call yourself a Christian if you lived like these modern Christians.
One day soon, God is going to move in such a terrific way that it’ll knock peoples’ socks off. He’ll literally be transporting people around the world by the power of the Spirit, and the hospitals will be emptied out as the average Believer of the future speaks healing in the name of Jesus. Those doctors will just shake their heads and wonder what’s happening!
It’s going to happen in the not too distant future and Bob wants to not be left out of all that. He secretly hopes that he might be one of the two witnesses spoken about in the Book of Revelation. Never know…SOMEBODY is going to have to be one of them.
Of all the thousands of people mentioned in the Bible, Bob relates best to David. David was like him. He got depressed a lot. He was misunderstood by his friends. People talked about him behind his back and conspired to make him look bad. He felt guilt heavily, especially when other people discovered his sin. David had a tendency to be externally motivated – he could get depressed when other people got blessed and he didn’t. he had a difficult (but successful) time calming himself enough to listen to the voice of God on the inside. David could go from the depths of despair to total unswerving faith in about ten verses.
Yep. David is almost just like Bob. Just sometimes Bob forgets that being a king, people truly DID conspire against David and talk about him. And that King David had awesome responsibilities. Other major differences are, of course that David was a Jew, under the Law, and was never baptized in the Holy Spirit. David was also very wealthy and extremely popular.
So, what do YOU do if you are called to lead Bob and his friends? 1. Follow Paul, even as he followed Christ. That means learn how Bob thinks and speak to him where he is, and in the language of his world. 2. Be all things to all men that you might win some. You might think that Bob is a bit mixed up, and almost barbaric in some ways. Paul was effective because in his words, “unto the Barbarians, I became as a Barbarian, that I might win the Barbarians. 3. Be like Bob in every way, yet without sin. That’s what you have to do as a minister of Jesus Christ. 4. Speak as Bob speaks and stand where he stands and be touched with the feelings of his infirmities.
Think and speak like a follower, like Bob, and live, plan and dream like a leader, the Apostle Paul, and Jesus, the High Priest of our profession.