The why behind the what

Jen Bradbury
Apr 30 · 5 min read

Recently, my senior pastor had our staff watch Simon Sinek’s TED Talk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action . The basic gist of Simon’s talk is that if you want people to follow you, you’ve got to tell them why you’re doing what you’re doing. You’ve got to explain the why behind the what.

I like to think I’m pretty good at this. I’m a detailed, analytical person. Each of our ministry events has a well-thought out purpose behind it.

I know the purpose behind everything we do.

The problem is sometimes my team members don’t.

Rummage Sale 2

I was reminded of this when my youth ministry held it’s recent Rummage Sale, one of our biggest fundraisers of the year. This year, as parents, students, leaders and I sifted through junk, I heard something I honestly haven’t in past years: Complaining.

This is too much work.

There are easier ways to make money than this.

I’ve got better things to be doing than this.

The constant onslaught of complaints increasingly frustrated me. At one point, I nearly threw my hands up in the air and exclaimed, “Why don’t you people understand the value of this?”

That’s when I realized: My people didn’t understand the value because I hadn’t communicated it to them.

I remedied this the day of our sale.

Before the sale began, I assembled my team and explained the why behind the what. I talked about the value of working together to raise money. I described how important it is to give people the opportunity to purge. I described how it gives our refugee neighbors dignity to shop for their families at prices they can afford. I explained where our leftovers go and how that continues to benefit our community. I then turned my team lose.

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