Skip to content

Category: Values Clarification

No Matter WHAT, Know your Why!

Posted in Christian Leadership Matters, Coaching, Professional Church Worker Experiences, Purpose, and Values Clarification

Have you ever asked WHY?

We spend a LOT of time asking What and Where and How. Those questions deal with workload, deadlines, specific answers to functional tasks. Yes, they must be asked and answered or little would get done, but there’s an important question we often forget, Why.

The question Why is an inspirational question. It forces us to think about the motivation of our actions, about what drives us, what makes us want to get up in the morning and meet the challenges of the day.

I scheduled a meeting with an author of 32 Christian books a few months ago. My question was “how do I write my first book?” His first question was “Why do you want to write a book?” Leith Anderson in his book “Leadership that Works” says there are only six questions: Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How. The most important question, he writes, is WHY. “He who knows how will always have a job; he who knows why will always be the boss.” [Page 193, Leadership that Works]

Have you ever asked yourself Why? Why did you enter the ministry? Why are you: a Pastor? Parochial School Teacher? Director of Christian Education? Church Administrator? Deacon/Deaconess? College and Seminary are great at helping us with the What and the How and the Where. But from your prayer and devotion, from an intense commitment to our Lord, from an exhaustive search of The Word do we discover the Why of our Call.

One Pastor with whom I worked (many years ago) said that he would honestly prefer to be the custodian of the school than the Pastor of the congregation. Another Pastor confessed to my father (who was an Elder at the time) that he didn’t have any idea what Pastors should do all day. A young man and his wife came into my office saying that he would like to become a Pastor. I asked the obvious question, Why? His response, “Because I like to read.” He thought Pastors spent most days just reading (that was in the 1980’s, so today, some might think we spend our time on Facebook!).

Yogi Berra said: “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up somewhere else!” Being a custodian is an honorable and noble vocation. But for your own sake and the sake of your congregation don’t hold the office of Pastor when you have the heart of the custodian. If you don’t know how to spend your time as a Professional Church Worker, you must be exceedingly frustrated! Find a trusted mentor who can disciple you toward a more rewarding sense of ministry or vocational purpose. If you love to read, great, but find a God-given purpose for whatever you do (Professor, Librarian, Researcher), and with the blessing of God, pursue that vocation with all your might.

“Why” is where our heart is. Perhaps you have seen the Golden Circle popularized by Simon Sinek. At the center of everything valuable in our life is “Why.”  (Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk on the Golden Circle.)

Christian Leadership Matters; it matters SO MUCH that we MUST know our Why. If you know Why, you can endure any What. Are you stressed in your ministry? Too many irons in the fire? Being pulled in too many directions at once? Are you having difficulty dealing with frustration. . . lack of immediate results. . . dealing with difficult people. . . are your most valued relationships suffering?

If so, take some time, as much as you need, and renew your sense of the Why of your Call. Take time, pray, search the Scriptures, talk with trusted mentors, confide honestly with your spouse, reconnect with your God-given Why.

Then — and this is quite important — WRITE DOWN WHAT YOU DISCOVER. Map out your Why as completely and as detailed as possible. Over time, edit, revise, rewrite, rethink, continue in prayer, ask God for clarity, ask your trusted partners and mentors for honest feedback. Make your written Why a foundation for the renewal of your Call. Find a certified and professional Coach (your District or denominational leadership will have a list of qualified Coaches) and if you like, contact The Higher Calling Coach for a free consultation.

Then, no matter What, your Why will empower you to complete that for which you were called heavenward in Christ.

Until next week,

Blessings in Christ,



Dr. Phil Pledger is The Higher Calling Coach and writes a blog entitled Christian Leadership Matters each week. Through his blog and coaching practice, Dr. Pledger seeks to help Professional Church Workers discover and enhance the leadership skills needed to make positive changes in their lives and in the ministry they serve. The goal is to find new ways to meet challenges, overcome roadblocks, and to find joy in serving Christ and His Church.

Click to sign up for Christian Leadership Matters.  If you would like to set up a no-cost/no-obligation consultation or would like to ask a question, email Dr. Phil at: