Saturday, June 13, 2009

Afraid of Excellence

Lately I have been reading books on Leadership based completely in the business world. I am often told I should only be reading books from the church world, but if you are going to read about leadership the pool in the Christian world can be rather shallow. That is for another day. What I have noticed is the striving for excellence. In no uncertain terms, excellence matters, and it begins with the work of leadership. Yet in the church we sacrifice excellence at the altar of mediocrity.

There are some clear indicators of when excellence is being sacrificed. If a idea is met with a phrase that begins with, well.... you know excellence is going to lose. Phrases such as the way we have always, or we have never, these all subordinate excellence. Whenever the conversation turns to finances, excellence is going to lose.

On the other hand there are some indicators of excellence having a place at the table. When words like opportunity, creative or possibility are a part of the conversation, excellence has a chance. If there is not such thing as a problem only an opportunity to see God work, excellence has a chance. When business as usual is challenged and possibly disregarded, excellence is given root.

For the church of Jesus Christ to be what it is called to be, the living, breathing, present anticipation of the kingdom of God, excellence must be a part of the dialogue. Good enough is not good enough, we should be bringing our very best. The only thing God has held back form us is the punishment we deserve for the ways we treat each other and God. Other than that God has held nothing back from humanity. Yet we hold back from God all the time. It is easy to put forth enough effort to get God off our back, but that is not what God is looking for. All the gifts, talents and abilities we have, are gifts from God. They were given to us to do something great. To live with excellence. Why do we settle for less?

I hear many people looking for more out of their relationship with God. I have now begun to ask not only what are you putting into the relationship, but what is the quality of what you are putting into it. Are we giving God the very best we have? Excellence is not an objective term, I realize. The baseline however, is offering the very best we have to offer. In human terms this may leave us short yet, ah but with God, the rest is the work of the divine.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your comments. I serve a rural congregation that shuns excellence. All suggestions for improvement are rejected because 1. "we've always done it this way", 2. "everybody does it this way", and 3. "you're trying to make us into a big city church." I don't understand why people do not want to do their best for God. Finding ways to persuade people to do their best is challenging.