The Line Between Inspiration & Manipulation

We’re putting an enormous amount of effort into this next series at Good Shepherd — a month-long effort called, simply, Home.

It’s a multi-layered project, complete with meetings, prayers, meals, songs, devotions, a dedicated Facebook page with its own QR code, and a “big ask” at the end.

And, oh yeah, sermons.

All of which brought me face to face with a much larger question: how thin is the line between inspiration and manipulation?

We’ve all felt manipulated before.  Many times, we’ve felt that way at church.    Maudlin appeals, sentimental songs, overwrought testimonials.

Yet on the other hand, we’ve all been inspired through the right word at the right time, an artistic element that engages the mind and opens the heart, an opportunity to make our own lives count for something much larger than ourselves.

Perhaps the best distinction is this: manipulation is for the sake of the organization, while inspiration is for the sake of the kingdom.

So whether it’s Home or future challenges we’ll issue to the people of Good Shepherd, I pray I’ll always stay on the right, kingdom-centered side of the line between inspiration and manipulation.