Question Zero

I have a tendency to get lost. A lot.  I have no sense of direction. If I go to a mall, walk down the hallway, and go into a store, when I come out I’ll usually start walking back in the direction I came from. A minute later I’m thinking, “Wait, I’ve been here before.”

During my freshman year of college, some of my friends and I were on our way back from a party and got lost. 1,350 acres, 20,000 students, but we couldn’t find our campus. We stopped at a BP Gas Station to get directions. The dude told us we were only about a mile from campus. We left, drove for another ten minutes, and realized we were lost again. We saw another BP Gas Station, and decided to ask again, hoping we’d get better directions this time. We went in, and it was the same dude. It was the same gas station! We had driven in a circle. We asked for directions, again, and ten minutes later … we were back at the same gas station.

A few years ago two guys were in town and asked if I could go to dinner. I picked them up and announced that I was taking them to my family’s favorite pizza place. We start driving, and I had to call my wife, “How do I get there?!” Eventually we found our way, ate, and then I had to drive them somewhere I had been multiple times. Repeatedly throughout the drive I had to call my wife, “Do I turn right or left on Princess Anne?” “Where am I?!” “What do I do? Help me!”  Finally we get there and one of those guys asked, “Vince, have you heard of a GPS?”

A GPS is great because it tells you the direction you need to go. It eliminates guessing, and opinions and, most importantly, getting lost. A GPS gives you true north. You get the path to your destination. Some of us need that because we have a tendency to get lost. 

In my 15 years of starting, leading and studying churches, I’ve learned that churches have a tendency to lose their way. We need a GPS, true north, the direction we should go. And that’s exactly why God gave it to us.

The Bible says in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  Jesus said in Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost”and in John 20:21, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” So Jesus was sent in love so that people would believe in Him and not perish but have eternal life, to seek and save the lost, and we are sent in the sameway for the same reason.

Jesus also said in Mark 16:15-16, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” and in Matthew 28:19-20, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” 

That’s our direction, our path. It’s the answer to what Will Mancini calls “Question Zero.” Question Zero is the first question that must be answered. It is the foundational, critical question. Question Zero is: Why do you do what you do? Why do you exist? What is your purpose, your mission?

And we’re told clearly: Your church exists to go out in love to seek and save the lost, by preaching the good news to all creation and making disciples of those who don’tbelieve by baptizing them and teaching them to obey what God has commanded so they might not perish but have eternal life. 

*** To learn more about understanding your WHY and getting true clarity on your mission, check out Auxano and all the great resources in the Auxano Vision Room.