Should churches strive for excellence? Or, is this “not the church’s way”? What are the ways that the church might strive for excellence and also avoid the pitfalls along the way?
The Problem with Excellence, Part 2
If excellence is a euphemism for perfect:
Stop using the bar as a bat. It seems that “raising the bar of excellence” is an oft-beat drum in church circles. People perform to the standard expected of them, right? Well, sure. Unless they can’t. If you’ve raised your bar to a level that’s not right-sized to your or your team members’ actual level of giftedness, it becomes a weapon. So know those things at which you and your teams excel, and do those things. Of course we can all learn and stretch and grow, but we also have to be realistic about our limitations.
Define what excellence looks like. You and I both know people who think their Comic-Sans-laden, animated-gif-infested websites are the best. Ever. And some people actually like Nickelback. Clearly, excellence is subjective. Consider, then, developing clear brand and style guidelines so you—and the people on your team—know, objectively, based on filters you put in place, what is and is not excellent in your specific context.
If excellence is spreading you and your people too thin:
Get clear about your vision. You can’t be excellent about everything all the time—not without eventually imploding. Be sure, then, that you’re striving toward excellence in the things that actually, truly matter. You can’t know what matters unless your church has a clear understanding of what it’s supposed to be doing—and not doing. In other words: Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t major in the minors. Keep the main thing the main thing. (There’s a reason phrases become cliché: Lots of people resonate with them because they make sense on a gut level.)