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Is EXCELLENCE a dirty word? (Part 1)

By - July 28, 2007 - 00:43 Etc/GMT+5 - 2 Comments

Is EXCELLENCE a dirty word? (Part 1) Preview Image

Our media team does a great job, better than average as a matter of fact. According to a recent poll on churchmedia.net, most media teams experience 5 or more “errors” per service related to projection, audio and video cues and content prepared for the services.  I would say our average is closer to 3. Yet some members of the team get stresses out every time we talk about excellence, striving for excellence or praying for excellence. Has “excellence” become a dirty word?

I was first introduced to the term excellence as part of a TQM (Total Quality Management) movement at my former workplace. With all the business and production management tools that came thru, excellence was often the word used instead of perfection. The goal of course was to make a perfect product, minimize labor (to zero), minimize cost (to zero) and maximize profits for “the company” – of course if we had been successful, we would have been out of a job!

When I first heard talk about excellence in ministry, my mind immediately thought about that worldly term. Unfortunately, many in ministry also think that we need to execute our ministry duties perfectly (with the implication that it doesn’t please God if it is not.) When we look at the use of excellence in the Bible, 2 Peter 1:3 best sums up the use of excellence: “seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.“ NAS See, the bible talks about the Lord be complete in excellence, or perfect, lifted up, greater than all else, but it never commands us to do our service with excellence. One of the few other places excellence is mentioned is latter in 2nd Peter (1:5) talks about striving for MORAL EXCELLENCE, which is only possible thru Christ Jesus. This whole talk of excellence in serving leans dangerously close to a “works” based salvation.

Somewhere along the way I heard a definition of excellence in service that I have adopted. Excellence is doing the best you can with what the Lord has given you to service with right now. I believe this lines up with scripture also. The key is to acknowledge that the strength and talent comes from the Lord, and to accept and do what we can with what he has given us now (Read the parable about the talents – Mathew 25:14-30). Does “excellence” have to be perfect then? NO! We are not perfect nor are our works perfect (precisely why we needed a PERFECT SAVIOR!).

So then, what shall we do? What shall our attitude be? First of all, I believe the Lord deserves our best in whatever we do. I also believe he has put certain talents, abilities and desires in us that He wants to use for His purpose. Phil 3:7-11

7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ-the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. NIV

(continued: Is Excellence a Dirty Word? (Part 2) )


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