I am a big proponent of asking the question “why?” I believe it’s important for us to understand the foundations, motivations, and intentions of our actions.
But the more I ask “why?” and have conversations with people about “why” the more I realize that “why” isn’t enough. Asking “why” is a necessary step. But, asking “why” won’t change things. Asking “why not?” has the potential to incite change…it begs for change.
You see things; and you say, “Why?” But I dream things that never were; and I say, “Why not?” -George Bernard Shaw
Relationships and the lessons I learn through them are by far my biggest takeaway from conferences. I love the opportunity to meet new people and reconnect with friends who live too far away.
But, if there was another thing I took away from Echo last week it was to be more intentional about telling good stories…especially in artistic ventures. And while that’s a takeaway I wholeheartedly agree with and one that I am passionate about, I’ll be honest , it wasn’t anything new to me. In fact, the idea of telling good stories, better stories, seems to be a growing theme in the circles of the American church I live in.
Now, I’m not proposing there is anything wrong with this. In fact I’ve made striving to tell and live good stories a part of my life…I even wrote a post about it. But I can’t help but wonder if it’s just another passing fad…wonder what will happen when we all get tired of telling better stories. What will be the next big idea?
But, then I’m reminded of Scripture. And, if Scripture is truly narrative, truly God’s Story, then maybe story is here to stay?
“We are just looking for the best way to enhance the Gospel,” or “Our goal is to enhance the Gospel.” I hear phrases like that thrown around a lot, especially in creative avenues of the church. Be it anything from a song, to a media piece, to a well designed print piece, it seems we like the justify our creative effort with the noble mission of “enhancing the Gospel.”
I’ll be honest, I’ve used the phrase. But, the more I hear it the more something about it just doesn’t sit right with me. Using the word “enhance” makes it seem as though we think the Gospel is insufficient or ineffective on it’s own, or that it’s just not quite good enough. Personally, I think the Gospel works in spite of us and the way we communicate its message.
Now I’m not convinced that the above is really what we mean when we use phrases like “to enhance the Gospel.” But, I think if we’re not careful, very quickly the words we use to describe what we’re doing will become the focus of what we’re doing. Meaning, even if we don’t believe we can enhance the Gospel but we continue to use that wording we will eventually get to the point where at least part of us believes that is indeed what we are doing through our creative efforts.
What are your thoughts? Do you use similar wording? WHY or WHY not? If anyone who uses that phrase regularly and has a reason as to WHY I would love to hear it! I’m not condemning its use, but rather seeking to understand.
I’ve been looking for alternatives to use instead, and…well…I haven’t come up with anything that I really like. At the end of the day, my goal is to intentionally communicate the Gospel – pure and simple. Sometimes it’s in a new or different way. Sometimes it’s an “age old method.” Sometimes it’s very literal, sometimes more mysterious. But no matter the WHAT, I always strive to be intentional with the WHY.
I don’t know, maybe we don’t need a hip phrase to describe what we’re doing? Maybe we can just call it what it is? Clearly, this is something I’m still wrestling with in my head and I’d love to hear your thoughts!
I am a huge proponent of asking the question WHY. So, this video of course caught my attention. It’s been floating around Twitter so some of you may have already seen it. If you haven’t, it’s worth the 18 minutes and 5 seconds of your time to watch the entire thing. But, for those of you who just want the cliff notes, it’s too good not to share.
The Video…it’s not about having the time, it’s about making the time, and you should make the time for this one.
Simon Sinek is on a mission to teach leaders how to inspire action. He published a book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action which I plan on adding to my collection soon. You can also check out his website. In this 18 minute TED talk, he lays out his basic principle for explaining when things don’t go as we assume or why some people, organizations, leaders, etc. are successful while others aren’t. He calls this idea, the Golden Circle.
Sinek goes on to explain that every organization knows “what” they do. Some know how they do it. But, very few know why – their cause, purpose, belief, why they exist. We tend to communicate from the outside in. But the inspired leaders & organizations think, act, & communicate from the inside out. He provides some great examples of this, and his point is: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
He goes on to further explain his idea, the underlying biology which is quite convincing, as well as giving some more fascinating examples. His bottom line is this, your goal shouldn’t be to simply do business with people who need your product, but with those who believe what you believe. And if you talk about what you believe, those people will come. But, in order to talk about why you do what you do, you have to of course know why you do it. And you may even find that when you attract people who believe what you believe they will take your cause and make it their own.
Sinek concludes with this: (In reference to Dr. King) “He gave the I have a dream speech not the I have a plan speech…There are leaders & there are those who lead. Leaders hold a position of power or authority. But, those who lead inspire us. Whether they’re individuals or organizations we follow those who lead not because we have to but because we want to. We follow those who lead not for them but for ourselves. And it’s those who start with why that have the ability to inspire those around them.”
So, I ask you, do you know WHY you do what you do? And by the way, your what may be much bigger than your job.
I’m at a point in my life where I need to redefine WHY I do what I do (the bigger than the job what). Join me in the challenge?