Question Zero is whydo you do what you do, not what do you do, or how do you do it.
The problem is that most churches are obsessed with what and how. Church conferences and books and blogs are about what and how. What should we do? How should we do it? Is it Mega Church or House Church, attractional or missional, global missions or local missions, expository or story-based preaching, traditional or contemporary or blended worship, single site or multi-site?
We assume the success of churches is because of what they’re doing or how they’re doing it. I’ve heard stories of pastors who go to Willow Creek conferences with a measuring tape so they can determine how far the pulpit is from the front row, so they can re-create the same dimensions in their building.
The problem is that when we focus on what and how it’s easy to lose the why. We get lost. We lose our way. And that’s exactly what’s happened. Churches are so obsessed with what and how they’ve lost the necessary obsession they need to have with why.
That’s the reason research tells us only 2.2% of churches in America are experiencing any real conversion growth.
It’s the reason about 8 million less people going to church in America today compared to 30 years ago.
It’s the reason after I spoke at a conference a few months ago and shared about ten stories of truly lost people our church has reached, one of the other speakers came up to me and said, “I need to know you.” He went on to explain that he had been trained and on staff at a couple of the most famous and fastest growing churches in the country, then went to start a church and realized he had no idea how to reach lost people. He realized the churches he had worked in were obsessed with what– what kind of disciples they were producing – and were not focused on why.
It’s the reason when I’ve had a chance to get behind the scenes and talk to staff members of some of the biggest mega-churches in the country and asked what percentage of the people who attend their church came directly from another church the answer has been 95%. It’s because they’re obsessed with how – how to do church, how to grow a church – and were not focused on why.