Three Compelling Questions for Knowing Your Why

As church leaders, we crave inspiration. It often unites and fuels us; it empowers us to do things we had not considered or thought possible. It has the power to draw us out of the moments and seasons when our church, our ministry, or perhaps even our personal life is a bit empty. If you find yourself running low on inspiration as you read this, you may not need to look any further than the simple word “why.”

The word “inspire” comes from a Latin term meaning to “breathe life into.” Remembering why is sometimes all it takes to find inspiration and breathe the breath of new life into your ministry.

Recently someone asked what the “secret sauce” is in the growth of Resurrection, the local church where I have served for nearly 30 years. My response was quick, “We are relentlessly focused on our purpose and vision of being used by God to change lives and transform the world.” This is our “why”; it is what inspires us. It is a why that invites us to be part of something bigger than ourselves – to be part of God’s kingdom mission in the world. What is your why?

Take time to re-focus on your why, and see what fresh inspiration it brings. Maybe you need to do this personally, or maybe you’ll want to bring your church leadership together for a “remembering our why” retreat. When there is clarity about your “why,” what you do and how you do it will have greater impact, as you work relentlessly toward your God-inspired purpose.

Here are three questions to help you and your church clarify your why.

Why Do People Need Jesus?

Not why would it be nice for people to have Jesus in their lives, but why do people need Him? As Christ followers, we have the greatest story in the history of eternity to share. We must be able to communicate an answer to this question that is compelling, not just to ourselves, but to people who are unconvinced.

What is your story? Why do you need Jesus? What difference has Jesus made in your life? You may not have an expertly crafted, theological explanation, but you do have a story to share. When a blind man was healed in John 9:25, he didn’t have a deep theological response to who Jesus was. Instead, he responded with what he had personally experienced: “I don’t know whether he’s a sinner. Here’s what I do know: I was blind and now I see.”

Think about your story. Make notes in a journal. What is your answer to why people need Jesus?

Why Do People Need the Church?

It is important to remember you are not only inviting people to follow Jesus but to become a part of His community and mission in the world. Some may be convinced they need Jesus, but not certain of their need for a church.

I love that it was God, through Jesus, who instituted the church, not as a building or place, but as a body of people. The Church is God’s idea, and if we are to lead in it, we must have a fundamental conviction about the necessity of the church as the body of Christ.

My Senior Pastor Adam Hamilton once said, “The intention of the church is to foster, build, and be a community of people devoted to one another in love, bound together by a common faith, working together to live out their faith in the world.” Churches, as imperfect as they may be, are organizations chosen for a mission given by Christ.

Why Do People Need Your Church?

Finally, you must be able to explain why someone would need your particular church. What is distinct about your church? The question is not what makes your church better than others, but what are you offering that others may not. Of all the options available, what gives people a compelling reason to attend your church? What are you known for – or want to be known for – in your community?

At Resurrection, we have identified four distinctives that define our congregation. We are: 1) Outwardly focused; 2) Thought-provoking; 3) Bridge-building, and 4) Hope-radiating.

These may not be the distinctives of your church; yours may be different. But, knowing what is unique and special about your church is essential, whether yours is a new church or an established, century-old congregation. Your church is an instrument chosen by Christ to bear the light of hope to your community. Imagine the difference in your community if everyone in your congregation daily sought – empowered by the Holy Spirit – to embody the message of Jesus.

My prayer, as you reflect on these three questions and recenter around your “why,” is that you will find inspiration that motivates you for the mission ahead and that you will be used by God to change lives and transform the world!

Debi Nixon serves as the Executive Director of the Resurrection Foundation and Donor Relations. She is passionate about helping others experience the radical love of Jesus through hospitality and about helping others steward their resources and gifts for greatest kingdom impact. Debi and her husband Reed enjoy being at the lake, taking walks, and time with their two grown children. But if you want to know her true joy…ask about her grandchildren!