Scott Brennan, member of Forge Scotland’s core team and tutor on our year-long part time pioneer course encourages us to understand why we act before we do.


The tendency for activists is to do something. They tend to have a ‘fire ready aim’ approach to life. That’s because pioneers tend to have a lot of passion. And passion is a good motivator.

However, I believe it is better to start with why.

The Forge Course on the surface looks like a how to, that is, the practices of pioneering but the reality is we need to do the deep work under the surface otherwise we just reproduce what we know and in most cases that is just not working in a post christian culture.

Let me explain. Simon Sinek introduced a diagram with three circles, with why in the centre.










If you are a pioneer you tend to jump straight to what are we going to do? We start from the outside and work in when we should start from the inside and work out. Knowing why informs our practice

The beauty of Forge is that it does two things:

  1. You are surrounded by people who are just as passionate as you, and that can create a lot of energy but it also causes us to question a lot of things, and
  2. You spend a year asking why do things differently?

What emerges is a lot of frustration and trust.

You learn to trust your own frustrations.

You realise you are not the only person with frustration about how things are done, asking why are we so ineffective when the good news is SO GOOD.

You get to join a community of trust who think together and it creates a people with a purpose who actually gets one another. We are a community of weirdos like teenagers who turn into goths to be different and end up looking and talking the same as their peer group.

In this environment you grow into a new confident pioneer and practitioner. You emerge from one way of thinking into another, this is often called a paradigm shift.

The dictionary definition of paradigm shift is “a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions


All innovation has to start with why.

Think of the civil rights movement, it started with why. Why can we not treat people the same?

Think of the church. Why does it exist?

Most people see church from the outside first, it could be buildings or projects or people. It’s what we do that people see.

Yet church as we know in Scotland is not working well. Our culture has rejected church as we know it, but actually they have rejected the what they see not the why!

Jesus is just as popular. His polls are high.

This is why we must start with why.

Jesus began with why. He said things like

“The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.”

“The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many.”

These are not what or how but why.


Mike Frost in his book Surprise the World says we are to live questionable lives. We are meant to provoke people to ask the question “why do you do that? What is different about you?”


  • Why do you buy over an old pub and convert it into a community hub, from pub to hub?


  • Why do move house to live in an area that doesn’t have the best schools for your kids?


  • Why do you take a job that pays a lot less than you could earn in the business world?



Forge starts with why.

It does look at things like who (team) and how (practices) but its foundation is why.

So you budding pioneers, my advice is start with why.