Why Do You Do What You Do?

When is the last time you had a powerful sense of your “why”? Are you feeling fully connected and motivated?

At a training last week the facilitator showed a video created by Cleveland Clinic, a medical practice in Ohio. The title of the video was, “Empathy: The Human Connection to Patient Care.” The rest of the audience and I were confused. How was this going to be relevant?

The first thing you see is a quote by Henry David Thoreau, “Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?” After that the camera moves through the halls of the clinic and words start to appear over the heads of patients, staff, volunteers, and maintenance workers.

  • Wife’s surgery went well. Going home to rest.
  • Day 29. Waiting for a new heart.
  • 19 year-old son on life support.
  • Celebrating 25th wedding anniversary.
  • Recently divorced.
  • Just found out he’s going to be a dad.
  • Daughter is getting married on Saturday. Determined to be there.
  • Worried how he will pay for this.
  • 7 years cancer free.
  • They saw “something” on her mammogram.


People might look similar on the outside. But inside they are far more complex and unique. Each has a history of profoundly meaningful experiences.

Your church is the same way. It is easy to forget when walking through the halls, but each person you walk past represents a story. Many carry painful hardships like broken relationships, financial hardships, or mental illness. Lots are in transition and navigating new jobs, new babies, or even a recent loss. Each of us has a unique relationship with God. For some it’s a great source of hope, and for others it’s complex or even painful.

As a Group Life leader your mission is to make sure each and every person in your church develops this type of empathy. You want the members of your church to know others and be known. Getting into a small group helps them experience that.

What a unique opportunity you have before you. You get to help people “look through each other’s eyes” in a profound, faith-enhancing way! Small groups help people see beyond the mass of people and know they are part of a community.

If you have an extra 4 minutes, watch this video. Feel the power of empathy and get inspired for the work that you do.


  • Jon Noto

    Jon Noto is a licensed Christian therapist who was called into ministry and served at Willow Creek Community Church’s North Shore campus as Community Life Pastor. Now Jon works with White Stone Counseling Resources, a Christian counseling practice that serves local churches. Jon continues to write, teach, and train in addition to private practice. You can follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

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Daniel Thomas

Connections Director



Daniel serves as Executive Pastor at Community Church of Mountain City, TN.  Daniel and his family are on a mission to establish roots within their community, fight for peace and serve well.  He serves as our Connections Director in laying the groundwork for Circles. He loves great coffee and traveling with his wife Tia and two children, Deklan and Aden



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