No Fruit Yet? 4 Ways to Stay Motivated

stay motivated

When we work hard but don’t quickly see results, it’s just plain difficult.  We need to know how to stay motivated in disciple making and evangelism while we wait for the fruit to come.

Lessons From Our Superheros

“With great power comes great responsibility”

says Uncle Ben in the Spider-Man movie.

I love that quote. I can see the scene in my head and hear his voice. It’s an “Aha” moment for young Spider-Man. I guess I just like Superheroes.

These champions inspire us.  They help us to dream of what might be possible, with a little superhuman strength.

Pursuing a Disciple Making Movement among unreached people requires superhuman strength.  It requires God’s strength!

I interviewed some DMM Superheros to find out what they do to stay motivated in disciple making and evangelism when the fruit seems slow in coming.  Some of these Super Heros are people who pursued a Disciple Making Movement (DMM) without giving up for ten to fifteen years and are just now seeing breakthroughs.  That kind of perseverance isn’t easy.  Many would have quit long ago.  These guys are heroes for sure!

What keeps them going forward?

4 Ways to Stay Motivated While Waiting for Harvest

1. Remember – God’s Calling and Promises

When we don’t see immediate results in our evangelism efforts, we need to remember the Calling we received from God.  If you know that He is the One who sent you, who commissioned you to go to this place, to this people, to make disciples…quitting really isn’t an option.

Remind yourself often of that original calling.  What scriptures or pictures did you receive when you first stepped out to obey His Great Commission? Or when your church elders prayed for you and sent you out?

Review the prophetic words and pictures God has given you.  Re-read those promises again and again.  We often wait for someone to come to encourage us. Learn to be that person for yourself!  Encourage yourself in the Lord as David did (1 Sam. 30:6)

2. Celebrate – Small Wins and Other’s Victories.

Do you celebrate enough?  Most people don’t.

“I don’t have anything to celebrate yet,” you might be thinking.  Find something.  Have a party.  If nothing else, celebrate that you are still pursuing your calling!  You haven’t quit! That is worth making some special food and putting up balloons!  A lot of people would have quit by now, but you haven’t.  That is a big deal.

Don’t wait till you have 200 believers and several generations to celebrate.  Don’t even wait till you have the first believer or the first group.  Rejoice in the small wins. 

Here are some ideas for you.

  • Did you reach your goal to learn 500 words in the local language?  Celebrate!
  • Have you prayed faithfully for your neighbors every day for six months? Buy yourself a treat!
  • Are you gaining favor with local leaders? That’s a big deal!
  • Did you take a risk of faith and pray for someone who is sick in your community today? Give yourself an afternoon off at the pool!

Remember you are part of a bigger picture.  You’re part of a huge team of Jesus followers who are sacrificing their lives to reach the unreached and start movements among them. Learn to rejoice in the breakthroughs others experience. Don’t be jealous or threatened when your colleagues see Kingdom advances.  Their wins are your wins.  Be excited for them!  One day they will rejoice with you too.

3. Keep Learning – Stay Open to Input

When we don’t see fruit as quickly as we would like, it is easy to become self-condemned.  “I’m not a good church planter.  There must be something wrong with me. I am a failure.  I don’t have the gift of evangelism.”  These are just a few of the many lies the enemy wants us to believe.

When we fall into condemnation or self-pity, we easily shut down and become defensive instead of staying open to input and insights others may have for our situation.  This defensiveness can sneak up on us so easily!  Don’t give in to it.

Invite others with a different perspective to take a look at what you are doing.  They may have creative ideas for you.  Get a coach or find a new mentor with a different perspective.

Sometimes you are doing the right things, it just needs more time to become fruitful.  Sometimes there are changes you can make that could release a breakthrough.  Be open to evaluation.

4. Practice Sabbath– Play & Rest

staying motivated in disciple making

David was a man after God’s own heart.  Have you ever noticed how much he played and relaxed?  He strummed the harp.  He shot arrows with his buddy Jonathan.  I’m pretty sure he liked to lie down next to the stream in the grass and just stare up at the blue sky…doing nothing (see Psalm 23 for confirmation of that!)

God knew what He was doing when He commanded us to take a day off – to take a Sabbath and stop working.

Rest. Take a break.  Go on vacation.  You will return with new energy and perspective.

One of my life verses is a wonderful promise for those pursuing a Disciple Making Movement (DMM) but not yet seeing one happen.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.- Galatians 6:9 NIV

Take time this week to Remember, Celebrate, Keep Learning, and Practice Sabbath. 

What has helped you stay motivated in disciple making when facing DMM delays and disappointments?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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