The great ones all seem to forge their own path. From the biblical examples of Abraham, Moses, Esther, Ruth, David, and so many others, to the more modern day tales of Thomas Edison, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mother Teresa, history is littered with great men and women who refused to listen to skeptics. The louder the voices telling them not to do something, the more resolve they had.
Those who know me best are well aware that I don’t shy away from conflict. Though I don’t seek out arguments, I’m not put off by them, and I don’t back away from them. In fact, I think sometimes arguments and disagreements are some of the most healthy conversations we can have. They make us better. They give us new perspective. If we’re truly listening and engaging in the conversation, they can persuade us to change our minds, or they can help us solidify our point of view.
In this talk, Simon Sinek shares the very simple secret to the success of some of the greatest business and civic leaders of all time. In the end, he says, it comes down to “Why?”
As I listened to Sinek speak, I became acutely aware that most churches and most followers of Jesus fail horribly in this area. The people with greatest why in all of history so often begin by talking about the what. Even the most faithful among us talk about their actions rather than their motivations.
In our church, it’s easy to talk about what we do. We do a lot of really great things! And we know our motivations, but, so often we (or at least, I) fail to tell others exactly what those motivations are. Consider these two sentences:
We went out this weekend and served meals to people in our community who needed food and they were extremely grateful!
We believe that God loves every single person with a passion that is greater even than the love we have for ourselves – a passion that drives us to work toward justice, opportunity and a better life for all people.
You see, what we do is important, but people need to hear the why.