Some lines are so thin that it can be very easy to cross them and not realize. An example is the line between preachers and motivational speakers.
I surf the internet day after day and I come across different people. They have made it their life’s mission to inspire us and push us to be the best we could be. Some of these motivational speakers use spiritual standings to back up their points. This causes the line that divides preaching and motivational speaking to get very blurry.
How can we differentiate them and key in differently to both?
Before I outline these differences, I would like to define both terminologies.
Preaching vs motivational speaking
Preaching is an act of delivering sermons or religious addresses to an assembled group of people. The key words to note are sermon, religious, and assembled.
Are you following?(Good)
Motivational speaking, on the other hand, is the act of public speaking, which is aimed at inspiring an audience to make a change in their behavior and lives. And just like above, the words to note here are public speaking, audience, and inspiring.
That there is the very first difference between them.
Preaching is totally “religious-oriented” and targeted at teaching you about your religion and ways to serve your God more. Motivational speaking is “You-oriented”, targeted at allowing you to see yourself and the innate power you possess.
I am happy I am clearing up those blurry lines for you. Now, you can understand how to react to either preachers or motivational speakers.
But before we do that, (I’m sorry, don’t beat me), a question just popped into my head. Can preachers be motivational speakers and can motivational speakers be preachers?
Difference between preachers and motivational speakers
Preaching – Religion oriented
Whether you are a Christian or a Muslim or of any other religion, preaching teaches about the intricacies of your religion. Preaching is Christ-centered for Christians. It should teach you about the death, resurrection, and salvation that He has chosen to offer us.
For Muslims, preachers mainly teach about the sovereignty of Allah and how there should be no thought of partnership. This is the sole aim of preaching: centering your message around the enormity and totality of a religion.
Motivational speaking – Self-oriented
“Every human born on earth can be more than they are. They only need to discover the power embedded in them and connect with it. God told Abraham in the Bible that he will go as far as he can see. Seeing and vision are different”.
Can you see how that message might look like preaching just because of the Bible reference? However, that is just motivational speaking masked like preaching mainly because it aims to develop you.
Preaching is a calling
To preach is not for everyone. You have to be anointed and called by God into service. This is why there are religious titles such as Imam and pastor. Preaching requires a calling into the office.
It doesn’t consider your eloquence or charisma, because there is a higher play at work. Those, however, are just side requirements, because a charismatic and eloquent preacher is a better preacher.
Motivational speaking is a career
A career is an occupation a person undertakes for a significant period of their life and with opportunities for progress. It is open to everyone, provided you are ready to learn and allow the fundamentals of the career to permeate your mind.
Motivational speaking has become a career of late, with many people using social media as a platform to spread inspiring words. Others explore the big stages and are either called upon to conferences or host theirs.
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Preaching influences the soul
The main purpose of preaching is for the message to touch your soul and in turn, change your heart in the direction of holiness and Godliness. Preaching erupts all kinds of emotions in you whether sadness or happiness to turn a lost soul around to God.
You know you are listening to preaching when the words result in an effectual change of heart towards your behavior or way of worship towards God.
Motivational speaking influences emotions
There is a part of your brain that controls your emotions. The amygdala is responsible for those feelings you get when you listen to someone telling you, “You can do it”.
Motivational speaking targets your emotions and pushes you on a journey of self-actualization. From the get-go, we can see how motivational speaking concentrates on an individual. I dare say it is a selfish act but as some motivational speakers would say,
“Be selfish about your goals!”
Preaching focuses on impartation
In many churches and mosques, preaching aims at spiritual impartation. Whether as a teacher or pastor or imam, that act of giving unto others what God has given unto you is called impartation.
However, there is no impartation during motivational speaking.
Motivation focuses on inspiration
I heard you say hmm. A motivational uses the right words and settings to get you inspired about something. The goal is to lift your emotions to an extent that pushes you to take an intentional move toward change.
Inspiration is the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
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Preaching portrays God as the means and the end
When you listen to preachers, they hammer on the fact that God is the goal. There is no other agenda. He offers God to you and intensifies the importance of his jealousy.
Only God matters.
Motivational speaking portrays God as a means to an end
Motivational speakers are capable of picking a verse in isolation and painting in a way that suits your situation and also offers a solution.
There, God is just a means to an end.
Can preachers be motivational speakers and vice-versa?
Preachers can be motivational speakers but motivational speakers cannot be preachers. This primarily stems from the fact there is a huge difference between being called and chasing a career.
Preachers are called; this makes it impossible to learn to be a preacher. It’s either you are called or not.
I hope I’ve been able to untangle the ropes and open your eyes to the truth of this matter. The places of preachers and motivational speakers are incredibly important in our society and we should aim to celebrate them.
However, it would be a waste of my effort if you can not unmask a motivational speaker posing as a preacher.
“You shall know the truth and it shall set you free”.