Get to the ‘why’ in ministry

Over the years, I’ve attended many training sessions. I’ve taught more than my share of them and have found that often, it is the simple ideas that can be the most profound.

In my ministry of equipping pastors and churches and sharing our vision of the Church, one of the lessons I’ve learned and teach often is the What, How and Why. All are important, but it’s the Why that matters.

Why1) All churches and ministries know ‘what’ to do.

Here are some of the ‘what’s:

  • Churches hold services
  • Volunteers greet visitors
  • Pastors preach sermons
  • Children’s ministry has volunteers
  • Offerings are taken
  • Contributions are collected

2) The better, teaching ministries and churches know ‘how’ to do it and can teach others.

Here are some of the ‘how’s:

  • Contemporary services are preferred by the majority of people
  • Appreciate and train your volunteers
  • Prepare sermons in a series to keep people coming back
  • Pray before the offering is taken

3) Remarkable churches and ministries know the ‘why’  and inspire others.

If you were expecting a list of ‘why’s, you’re likely disappointed. The ‘why’ is personal and unique. It’s the way that the distinct vision of the senior leader is expressed. There are many ‘why’s in a church or ministry. At the top are all the ‘why’s related to who it is that the church is trying to reach. A suburban church likely has a different ‘why’ than an urban church. A church reaching primarily young people has a different ‘why’ than most other churches.

You likely know some of your ‘why’s but don’t necessarily articulate them consistently or in a way that motivates staff, volunteers and members. For example, we know that visitors that are welcomed in a friendly and casual manner are more likely to want to return. This is why churches should train and constantly remind their volunteers that they are the critically important and function often as the visitors first impression of the Church.

Another ‘why’ is that we know that one of the most important aspects of children’s ministry today is to assure the parents that their children are in a safe environment. This is why churches that are aware of this use check-in systems and name tags for both the children and the parents.

Get to the ‘why’ in your church and ministry. Spend some time examining the various aspects of the ministry and identify the ‘why’s. Then, take the time to create short, memorable and creative tag lines for the various ‘why’s of your church or ministry. Don’t just tell people the ‘what’ or train in the ‘how’ — give them the ‘why’ and your church or ministry will become not just better-than-average, but remarkable and inspiring.

Ken Behr is the executive director of Faith Dialogue, a faith-based nonprofit in Palm Beach Gardens, FL.



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