Home > Uncategorized > Mind if I SPUR you?

Mind if I SPUR you?

My wife, Vivi and I lead Student ministry and have been for a while now.  I became a Christian during my second year of college and have a decade now of working with student ministry.  One very important step in the process, not the only step but a part of the process is helping students to commit themselves to coming to church stuff and small groups. In reality, it’s not like God is there at the door with an attendance folder and then in some special way you can be saved by walking in the building.  However, it is a crucial aspect of following Christ, perhaps a first step to knowing the gospel and it is also can be an indicator of where your faith is at once you have been saved.

That being said, I want to do my best as a leader to get people to all the environments and platforms that i can.  Whatever the win may be for each respective platform, we do lots of different activities, camps, trips, church services and small groups.  Some are to strengthen relationships and many are to introduce people to the gospel or some combination of the two.

In order to motivate people to come to our events and meetings, the first thing i believe is that I need to make sure that we are building irresistible environments.  Now, I may not be accomplishing that all the time… or ever, but that is the idea behind our effort.  I want to make environments that people actually enjoy to be at and being a part of.  It’s not like i want it to be, that despite the environment, they managed to be there because their convictions.  No, I want to use and run with ideas that come straight from the students and I want to make their ideas into a reality.  As a leader, I believe that is my job: To help them do ministry.  That means that I need to use my resources, my experiences and time to help them do ministry in their generation.  But building desirable environments is not the end, cause lots of people are doing that for other reasons and it shouldn’t be the bottom line for WHY people come.

The great commission, which is in the end of the book of Matthew, Jesus called his followers to a two part mission.  First, Make disciples and baptize them, this is the beginning and where someone first gets saved.  Next, you need to continue to teach them all that He has commanded.  That second part is a lot larger assignment than the first.  That is like, the rest of their life type thing.  Well, if we want to develop fully devoted followers of Jesus, yes, they are to repent of sins and be baptized, but then there are a grip of other commands that are throughout the New Testament that need to be followed in order to continue following Jesus after one sees the water of baptism.  Like the one which we use to tell people to come to church.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV

This is an important passage and i read it all the time to college students for a couple reasons.  First, that they have a job, an assignment from God, to be intensional in helping other followers to live lives of love and good deeds.  Next, is to avoid getting into the habit of missing out on meeting up with other christians, ie church or small groups.  Here, I used the NIV, which is a common translation that people tend to use, at least in our church culture.  So, I am not a theologian, I have no real formal training in reading the bible and i can’t read greek.  But, check this out.  This passage of this particular translation (NIV) uses the term “SPUR,” that is one of those things that a cowboy uses on his boot.


Who am I in this picture if you are spurring me on?

I have heard and used probably used many times myself, this “SPUR” analogy over and over again.  What kind of image does this produce in our minds if we are to SPUR one another on?  One person in the conversation is the dumb horse and the other is a strong, fearless and able bodied cowboy.  So, the one doing the SPURRING, says something to the effect, “does a spur feel good? No, but It helps you get going in the right direction”  We have used this word as an “insight” and as a cornerstone in teaching people how to correct one another and call one another to following Christ.  This spur “insight” has been a defining passage of correction in our church culture.  Is that the kind of culture that we want to create in our church leadership?  Is that the kind of posture in leadership that Jesus teaches us to have?  One that says, “I am the teacher, riding the horse and giving it a good kick with a spur.”

So, i don’t know how the hearers in that generation would have taken that phrase, but If you cross-reference other translations, I do not find  any other translation that translated it that way. Now, there may be one, but I couldn’t find it.  To my understanding, in my experience, there is NO OTHER TRANSLATION THAT USES THAT GREEK WORD AS SPUR.  The other tranlations use words like, “promote, motivate, stir up, help, stimulate or provoke unto.”  Now some of those could potentially be like a spur, I suppose, but most of them not.  This greek word is only used 2 times in the bible and the NIV is the only one that translates one of the two occurrences into “spur.” How many of the other translations give an image like spur, where a confidant rider gives direction to a dumb horse.  Obviously, those in charge of the translation of the NIV are much smarter and more educated than I am, but I am sure the other groups in charge of translating all those other versions know a thing or two as well.

Maybe the insight about the “SPUR” is not really an insight at all and this passage may be there to instruct us to HELP or to MOTIVATE one another in a positive way towards love and good deeds.  To encourage, to give strength and to help people to keep dedicating themselves to the interests of other followers of Jesus.  I am pretty sure that in most leadership paradigms in sport, business or military, the horse and rider “spur” illustration relates naturally to the way they do leadership.  That illustration is exactly what I would do, even without any knowledge of the Cross of Christ, it is a rather natural assumption.

Something like this, “I am the older, wiser and more experienced one and I am here to direct you in the way you should go and i do it with intense correction when you don’t get it or don’t do it.”  When someone doesn’t listen to me, it is easy to say that I might get frustrated, I may be angry and I can get short or loud and say things that really can hurt or cut down the person that is frustrating me.  You don’t need to teach me how to do that, that comes totally naturally for me and I have learned it and seen it from teachers, leaders and coaches in the past.

The leadership paradigm that Jesus calls us to is not the same leadership as you would have done without Him.  He calls us as leaders to get underneath the people we are leading and lift them up.  Carry each others burdens and help each other with gentleness and respect. (Gal 6:1-2, Phil 2:1-10, 2 Tim 2:22-26, Eph 4:1-4, 15-16)  That is what we learn from Jesus leadership on the Cross.  This passage is there to help us to help one another, but not to instruct us to do what we do anyways, which is to yell and get intense with the people that are not doing what we think they should be.  This is not the end of this topic, probably just a small intro, I know that I have so much to learn about it and how to actually do it.



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