From time to time, you will hear from some who feel that the term “motivational speaker” waters down the job of the pastor-teacher. Helpful or not, the designation “motivational speaker” can have a secular vibe and can conjure various stereotypes.
Let’s be honest. As pastors, if we aren’t motivating anyone, who are we kidding? Biblical pastoring is motivational. Wayne McDill, retired preaching professor from Southeastern Seminary greatly emphasized persuasiveness in his lectures and writings, to include strong appeals for response. I learned through Stephen Olford at his Institute for Biblical Preaching three very helpful questions to ask of any Scripture passage in preparing sermons: a) What is the Dominating Theme? b) What are the Integrating Thoughts? and c) What is the Motivating Thrust? The pastor-teacher’s work is incomplete if he does not convey to his hearers the motivating thrust of God’s message.
Throughout both Testaments (Deuteronomy 30:19, Joshua 24:15, Acts 26:28, Col. 1:28, 2 Tim 4:2), God's spokesmen advocated motivational approaches both through their teaching and their examples. For these reasons and others, I am completely comfortable saying that one of the many hats a pastor wears is indeed that of a motivational speaker.