Who You Are Determines What You Do
I’m not sure if you’ve ever thought about it this way before but the most fundamental choices you make every day are dictated by an acute awareness of who you are. Think about it, from the clothes you wear to the food you eat, your life choices are the result of your understanding of who you are.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
Are you a health freak or a couch potato?
Are you a fashionista or a bargain shopper?
Just knowing which of these categories you fall into would tell me a lot about the choices you make every day. I’d have an idea of how you eat, whether or not you exercise, what kind of clothes you wear, and probably even how you spend your money because again, understanding who are you are determines what you do. And this teaches us a valuable lesson when it comes to creating clarity, both personally and organizationally, and it’s simply this... if you want greater clarity for what you’re supposed to do, start with clarifying who you are, because I promise you, the more clearly you see yourself, the more clearly you’ll see your mission.
Consider for a moment the life of Jesus. God in human flesh. He NEVER made a bad choice. He NEVER made a mistake. Why? Because He was God, of course, but also because He had complete clarity around who He was and that understanding of who He was made His mission and choices crystal clear.
Please get this: the better you understand yourself, both personally and organizationally, the more efficient you’ll become because you won’t waste any time pursuing anything that isn’t central to who you are. A person or organization that has great clarity around who it should be is a person or organization that has great clarity around what it should do.
The reverse is also true. A person or organization that doesn’t have great clarity around who it should be is also a person or organization that doesn’t have great clarity around what it should do.
Have you ever found yourself wondering:
“Why do we do IT like that?”
“Why do we say THAT that way?”
“Why are our announcements so long?”
“Why do we do (insert random event or ministry name here) at our church?”
Yeah, us too. All of these are symptoms of clarity issues. We do stuff but we’re not sure why we do it. And many times the stuff we do is good stuff, but when our actions are not connected to some deeper understanding of who we are organizationally, it makes us conflicted, confused, and ultimately less effective.
So often, we start ministries, launch new initiatives, shoot videos, sing songs, etc., simply because we saw another church do the same thing and in our excitement to try something new we never consider if we SHOULD do what we COULD do.
Let me give you a hint, should we? is a MUCH more important question than could we?
So, here are a few questions you can ask yourself that might help you start the process of gaining clarity around who you are as a church:
• Why do we exist as a church?
• What’s our mission?
• What makes us different from every other church in town? (This answer should focus primarily on areas of emphasis. It’s not meant to assign superiority to a particular kind of church.)
• What do we feel like God has called us to do as a church?
Here’s how we’ve recently answered these questions at COTM: Our mission is simply to lead people into a life-changing, spirit-empowered relationship with Jesus Christ. That may sound generic to you but it’s not. We know exactly what each of those words mean to us and how we feel like God wants us to implement them in our community. That only came after several hours worth of vigorous discussion so consequently, that’s what we spend our time working on week in and week out here.
Our who defines our do.
Now, that’s a good start but it doesn’t completely define us as an organization because there are other values that make us who we are. For instance, if there’s one value that’s central to who we are here at COTM, it’s excellence. We feel like if God asks us to do something, we should do it to the very best of our ability. So, in turn, we let our who define our do. For example, we filter our financial decisions through this value, meaning we spend money to make things excellent. Other churches might choose to spend their resources in a different way but because we have clarity around the value of excellence, we have no issues spending money to make things better (and we do that all the time). We filter our personnel decisions through this value as well. We hold our staff to a high level of accountability when it comes to excellence because we believe in it so strongly. We’re not afraid to make personnel moves regardless of how long someone has been working with us if we feel like they’ve compromised us organizationally when it comes to this value.
Some people may find that kind of thinking to be harsh. That’s okay, I think most churches are soft. To each his own. This is simply what we value and who we feel like God has called us to be.
So, who has God called you to be? Have you figured that out yet? What do you value most of all in your organization and are your ministries, events, and programs aligned around those values? If they’re not, I encourage you to take some time with your leadership and ask the tough questions because I promise, when you define your who, the do just seems to fall right into place.