Are You Asking Why?

If you ask someone “why they (did something),” you may or may not get a completely truthful answer. I do not say this to suggest that people are dishonest, although admittedly, sometimes some people are. The person may not be forthcoming because of a relationship with someone and choose to withhold a brutally honest response so as not to reflect negatively on someone they care about. The answer may be skewed by a person’s unique experience which is not ordinary or generally applicable to the circumstance. Then you have people like me. I don’t generally volunteer answers to surveys unless you ask me directly. Therefore, if I am not personally asked by someone, my opinion or experience is not likely to be given consideration. Effective church leaders learn to ask “why” to a particular question to a large number of people.

If you ask two or three people, you may or may not get to the real truth to the answers you are seeking. When you ask the same question of ten, twenty, or thirty people, the truth will begin to emerge. If I ask my mom to share what she perceives to be my greatest flaws, she will smile, tell me that I have none, and pinch my cheek. Yes, I am still her baby boy. If I ask that question of twenty people, the real truth will begin to bubble up.  Are you asking “why” and are you asking a lot of people.

The methodology can be formal or informal. Asking people why can be done over the course of time in personal conversation. Likewise, it can be done in fifteen minutes by giving an audience a survey. It can be accomplished through hosting one or more focus groups. Likewise, it can be done through on-line surveys or questionnaires. Why do people leave your church? I am not asking why people leave “churches,” but why they leave your church. You need to know the answer to that question. The truth, not your opinion, can be powerful in helping you lead changes that need to take place.

Why do people visit your church? Again, not why do people visit churches, but why your church? Why do some guests attend only once and never return? Why do people join your church? Why are your members not personally sharing the gospel? Why is there an atmosphere of apathy in your congregation? Hopefully there is not one. But if it is there, you need to ask why? Don’t guess. Use a method like described above that seeks truth and edification and not just an opportunity to complain. Are you asking “why?” What is the question you need to be asking “why” about at this point of your ministry? Don’t be afraid to ask. Be afraid of not really knowing. Knowing why is critical to maximizing your leadership!