Some of you might be familiar with a guy named Simon Sinek. Simon is a marketing consultant, author, and popular speaker. In 2009, he gave a Ted Talk called “Start With Why”; it is still one of the most popular Ted Talks of all time. My guess is some of you have probably seen it on youtube. And, if you haven’t, you really should watch it. Sinek believes that what you do…as an individual, a business, or I would add, a church…isn’t as important as why you do it.
In his Ted Talk, he uses Apple computers as an example. Apple could say, “We make great computers. They’re beautifully designed, simple to use, and user-friendly. Want to buy one?” Instead, Apple says, “We believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user-friendly. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?”
Now, I am not repping for Apple today, but starting with the why has made them one of the most innovative and successful companies in the world. So, what if we brought this idea into the life of the church? We like to tell people what we do: “We worship together. We fellowship together. We learn together. We work together in mission and ministry. Want to join us?” But what if we started, instead, by focusing on why we do those things…by focusing on our witness to Jesus Christ? It might sound something like this: “Jesus challenged the status quo by welcoming all people, loving all people, caring for all people, and accepting all people. We believe in following his example by loving God and our neighbors as much as we love ourselves. We do this through engaging worship, deepening our relationship with Jesus and each other, and transforming our neighborhood, community, and world through mission and ministry. Want to join us?”
Do you hear the difference? To be effective witnesses to Jesus Christ, we have to focus on why: why Jesus came into the world and why his grace and love matter. Starting with “why” is the best way to inspire others. As followers of Jesus, the why is what should get us out of bed in the morning. Faith gives us eyes to see and respond to the needs around us, but the “why” gives us our purpose…and that purpose has the power to change the world. So, what’s your why?