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Missions is an important aspect of the church I serve. Multiple trips go to various locations around the world, ministering in a holistic manner. The budget is strong and wonderful leaders and volunteers support the many efforts of cross-cultural ministries. But could it be better?
Simon Sinek in the book Start With Why suggests that we often try and manipulate people to influence human behavior rather than use influence. By knowing the Why of anything, the need to manipulate decreases and the ability to influence increases. It seems that we normally act and communicate in ways opposite of the WHY. Instead of communicating the Why of an opportunity or desired outcome, we present varies versions of the What and How.
Communicating the missional opportunities – going, giving and praying – are conveyed through media, website, traditional “paper” marketing tools and through the weekend services. Start With Why has reminded me of the importance of getting to the heart of a person. Too often I will announce the What is going on in missions. Or I’ll talk about the mission trips – the How – but seldom do I reach down into people’s hearts and communicate the Why of their participation. If the Why is understood, Sinek believes that people will got the extra mile to be involved.
I generally speak about What is happening – “the poultry project is helping to make the school in India sustainable, thanks or giving!” Or I share the How – “please join the group of businessmen going to India to work with our partners developing the poultry project, only $2,500!” But if the Why is presented – “many of us have yearnings of making a difference, of living a life of purpose and meaning, here is an opportunity to give your life the purpose you a so longing for,” then perhaps the passion that accompanies knowing the Why would well up in the lives of those in our churches.
Sinek concludes with the statement that” all leaders have two things: they must have a vision of the world that does not exist and they must have the ability to communicate it.” Understanding the Why helps us journey a lot further down the road of communication and meaning, resulting in passionate volunteers ready to make a difference.