Let Your “Why” Lead Your “What”

Clint Rogers


Clint Rogers


February 5, 2021

Let Your “Why” Lead Your “What”

Leading at a church or running a nonprofit is no walk in the park. While some may think working for one of these organizations is as simple as sharing a mission and working with people, there is so much more that goes into these positions than they may think.

There are budgets to balance, marketing strategies to plan, schedules to maintain, and so much more.

Working to “do good” in this world requires so much more than just doing the good - you have to do the necessary stuff too.

With all of the logistics of church and nonprofits, it can be all too tempting to fall into a routine of “just getting by.” When the daily tasks before us pile up to the ceiling, it can be hard to remember your purpose in doing this work that lies underneath.

Ask yourself at this moment: why am I doing what I’m doing? Besides the obvious answers (such as income), why exactly did you decide to follow the path of work you have followed?

It may have taken you a few minutes to express why you do what you do. This is because oftentimes, we can get so consumed in the “what” that we can lose sight of the “why.”

The “why” is the vision. It is the reasoning behind every single thing you do. The “why” was the catalyst that propelled you to choose to lead in a church or nonprofit in the first place. The “why” is what matters.

Why the “Why” Matters

Signing up to work in the nonprofit sector means you aren’t getting some typical 9-5 job. These positions require time that often goes outside of office hours, immense sacrifice, flexibility, patience, and so much more. We know you didn’t pick your job for the money, so there has to be deeper reasoning behind why you do what you do!

The truth is, everyone has a why behind their what, even if they lose sight of it at times. Keeping our purpose at the forefront could mean the difference between us succeeding in our calling or burning out.

The saying goes, “If you love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

This phrase runs true because if your passion motivates you to go work every day, work doesn’t feel like work anymore. Work is now a pleasure.

The “why” matters because if we want to enjoy work, we must know and care about why we are doing it. Loving your job means it will be much more fulfilling, you will likely be more productive, and you may even see more success.

Is your Mission Real?

This may seem like a very intrusive question, but it is a necessary one to be asked. Could you explain to someone your church or nonprofit’s mission in 2 minutes or less? Furthermore, is this explanation a riveting personal story or is it something they could just find your website’s “about” page?

If you are not excited and passionate about your mission, it is very unlikely that anyone else will be. Here is an example of how the mission can have a huge impact on people.

Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS shoes, was at a NYC airport when he saw a young woman wearing his TOMS brand shoes. When he asked her about the shoes, she went into a passionate discourse about Blake’s own life and mission behind TOMS. This example is stunning because it shows how much the mission of organizations influences our habits and choices as consumers.

If this had been any other pair of shoes that lacked TOMS’ powerful mission, the young woman probably wouldn’t have gone into all the details about the shoes. They have simply just been a generic pair of shoes. But because the company was founded on a larger mission, this compelled the woman to be filled with passion about the brand.

If a stranger were to walk up to you and ask you about your church or nonprofit, would you reply with the same fiery, passionate response? Is your mission something that compels you to true fervor and excitement?

If not, there is a possibility that your mission needs some work. But more than likely, it is not your mission that needs work, it is your passion for the mission that needs repair.

The fire that lit up the moment you came into contact with the work you do is still there; it never went away. You’re in good company if you feel like your fire has shrunk. Even the great church father Timothy had to be reminded of his own passion. 

2 Timothy 1:6 says “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.”

The embers of your passion are still there. You may just need to fan the flame a little bit.

Keeping the "Why" at the Top of Your To-Do List

We now know why our purpose and vision matter in our work, but how does this practically play out?

We want to list off a few examples of the “why” behind the “what” as it relates to different tasks, jobs, and strategic planning for churches and nonprofits. We hope this list sparks that passion inside of you that is often snuffed out by your to-do list! We encourage you to look at your everyday tasks (the what) and bring to mind your passion behind it (the why).

The What: Making a church website.
The Why:
We make a church website because we want to reach people and people spend a lot of their time online. There are millions of web pages within the World Wide Web that promote strife, violence, and sin, but we have an opportunity to be a light in the middle of the darkness.

Our website connects us to people worldwide and makes a way for them to join the community, hear the message of Jesus, and even accept Him into their lives. Our website serves as the front door to our church where people are welcomed with open arms, even virtually!

The What: Sending out a monthly newsletter for our nonprofit
The Why: We want people not only to see what good work our organization is doing, but we want to honor them as donors and supporters. They don’t always see the tangible ways their dollars and cents are impacting the people we serve. 

This newsletter is not just another painstaking task. It is a celebration of all we have accomplished this month. We just have to share it!

The What: Serving in the kid’s ministry.
The Why:
The church needs this up and coming generation. I am not just babysitting these children on Sunday, and I am pouring into their life. I have the opportunity to show them who Jesus truly is through my words, encouragements, and teaching. 

Kids’ ministry is not just childcare so the adults can enjoy church. Kids’ ministry is church! What I do here matters not just for the now, but for the future of the church.

The What: Volunteering for the tech team
The Why:
I don’t just have to do this. I get to do this. I have the opportunity to exercise my faith and worship as I man the lights, soundboard, or slideshow. These are instruments of my worship. I am not just doing some overlooked task for Sunday. I am being used to bring forth an amazing service for the congregation. I am making room for the Holy Spirit to work as I help to facilitate a worshipful atmosphere.

The What: Organizing the budget.
The Why:
We are people of integrity. We want to honor our donors and givers and the money they have graciously given by handling it responsibly. While time-consuming, checking expense reports, gathering financial statements, and organizing the budget is essential for keeping track of our financial health.

The What: Preaching a sermon.
The Why:
I have the privilege of sharing the very Word of God with those who are desperate to hear it. This is not a performance, act, or entertainment hour — this is a moment to preach true hope. I am not just sharing my words, but I am sharing the words that the Holy Spirit has deposited into my heart that He sees fit for the church to hear.

I do this because I love Jesus, and I desperately want others to know His love. I choose to recognize this is not a job, but this is a privilege and honor.

What is Your "Why"?

It is so important that we allow our “why” to lead our “what.” When we run our lives in this way, there is always a deeper purpose behind every single decision we make and task we complete. We know that reading these examples may not apply directly to your circumstances, but they are reminders of the importance of looking behind the “to do” list to something much deeper.

We mentioned a phrase we don’t want you to miss: I get to do this. Not “I have to do this or else…” It is a privilege to be able to serve in the capacities we do in our given jobs and positions. When we remember that we get to do the things we do, our minds shift towards gratitude, and our attitude changes.

What is your “why?”

We encourage you to take some time and write down your own list. Refer back to this list in the times that you feel overwhelmed by your tasks and have lost your passion. And always remember, you aren’t in this alone!

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