I recently came across a video of a presentation by Simon Sinek entitled, “How great leaders inspire action.” You can find the video on ted.com by searching for Simon Sinek. It’s worth a look. In this secular presentation, Simon explains how most of us are less than inspired when we’re told “what” or “how.” For example, say you produce a great widget and even do innovative and unique things with your widget but people won’t really flock to it unless they relate to why it’s made. Usually, we present ourselves with the “what” first (we make a great widget), then follow with the “how” (our widget does amazing things), and then finish with the “why” (it will make your life easier). If we reverse the message, we change the impression. “Your struggles in life are coming to an end. You can accomplish amazing things by using this beautiful new widget. We think it’s really great. Wanna buy one?” Sold.
What and How
Simon has an important point. Typically we’re inspired more by the “why” than the “how” or the “what.” Well, the same goes for the church! When we talk about our faith, what do we start with? “I go to church.” “I belong to Bethel.” “Our church services are really meaningful.” These are all great and true (I hope), but it doesn’t really inspire. How about these: “Justification by grace through faith!” “Scripture interprets scripture” “Jesus is the only way to heaven.” These are true statements about what we believe, but unless you’re already a believer, it still doesn’t inspire. Sold?
What inspires people about Christianity is not what we do or even how we do it. What inspires people is why you are who you are. Why do you believe this? Why do you come and worship this Jesus guy? Why do you behave differently than the rest of the world? Why do you consider yourself to be a disciple of Jesus? After all, isn’t that the question other people are asking anyway? They may not be asking you out loud, but they’re probably asking in their minds. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we were ready with answers to the questions people have but are afraid to ask?
The Because… Initiative
That’s exactly what we’re going to do. We’re calling it the Because… Initiative. These are “Because…” statements our church will make to the world around us to get people thinking and inspire them. For example, our new church slogan answers a lot of “why” questions: “Because… it’s true” It invites the other person into conversation. What’s true? How is it true? Is it true for me too? These are questions that we hope people will ask you and me, giving us opportunities to share the “how” and the “what” of our faith with them. Well, I can’t have all the fun coming up with these “Because…” statements. We want you to come up with some great answers to people’s unspoken “why” questions. Why? Because… we’re all disciples here.