Good Morning –Tonight, we are continuing our discussion of Tim Sorens’s book, Everywhere You Look: Discovering the Church Right Where You Are. Please watch the short talk by Simon Sinek How Great Leaders Inspire Action and finish reading Chapter 2 “The Big Why.”
The Church’s Why:
In his talk, Simon Sinek’s basic lesson is that inspiring people and organizations ask three basic questions and always in the correct order: (i) Why does an organization exist? (ii) How does it carry out this purpose? and (iii) What specifically do they do? We should imagine these questions forming concentric circles.
Sorens writes that when we talk about the Church, we almost always talk about what the church does, and specifically what the church does on Sunday morning. What type of worship service do we have? What type of music do we sing? What charities do we support? What ministries do we engage in? We invariably focus on the “what” of the church. The problem is that in asking these questions, our respective congregation becomes the “why.” In other words, “the purpose of the church is the church itself.” p.29.
Sorens’s challenge to us is for us not to place the church – the local congregation, the denomination, or even the Church Catholic – as the Why in the inner circle. Rather we must put “God” as the inner circle of Why. Or more specifically, we must put “God’s Dream” as our Why. p.31. For Sorens, God’s Dream is that of reconciliation and renewal of all things. p.30. Paul writes: “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” 2 Cor. 5:11-21, see also, John 3:17, Acts 3:21, Rom 5:10, Eph. 2:16. God’s Dream is what we see at the very end of Revelation where there is the restoration of all of creation.
This Why of God’s Dream excludes us or the church from being the center. Jesus tells us “Those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.” Mark 8:35. This verse is fulfilled when we move ourselves and our institutions out of the center, for in making God’s Dream our central purpose in the Why, we will find our purpose in the How and the What.
Tonight, we will discuss the Big Why, Sorens’s understanding and articulation of God’s Desire as the Big Why, and whether Sorens’s articulation is our articulation. As we talk through and evaluate Sorens’s understanding of the Big Why as reconciliation and renewal, remember that we are not talking about the How or the What. Specifics of community or worship or outreach come later in our discussions when we get to the How and the What. Tonight is simply about the Why.
(As an aside, in Easter 2018, we read through Dr. Albert Rossi’s book Becoming a Healing Presence. Dr. Rossi’s understanding of the Big Why is that Christ came to bring healing to the world, and his book is about how we can participate in this healing. On p.32 of his book, Sorens equates God’s reconciliation and renewal with God’s healing. Same concept, just with different words.)
Dinner is at 6. The menu is BBQ Chicken. Discussion about 6:45. Compline at 8. Hope to see you here.
He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.1 John 4:8-12