Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth. ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt
Several months ago I hired someone that had virtually no experience and wasn’t familiar with any of the programs key to the role I was putting her in. She has been one of the best hires of my career! So why did I hire her? I’m not sure. It felt right is the easiest way to explain it, but she earned that feeling. She was driven to get the job. She had something that I could work with. She had passion and I quickly came to recognize that she was a woman of good Character.
I was recently thrown into thought regarding this idea of what God wants from us. It quickly turned into the universal idea of what really makes God and the people we connect with daily happy. Is it that we are excellent at what we do for them? Or is it that we want to do it for them?
I’m involved in worship at my church. Worship has become a huge movement over the past 20 years. More and more artists/worshippers are offering their skills to glorify God and because of it a higher standard has evolved. The songs that are being written are more technical, with more musicians and in order to replicate it in our worship services we require people that are talented. This is much the same in my work place.
I’ve been approached a few times in my “career” to have more emphasis on excellence. It has never sat right with me. Don’t get me wrong I don’t want people to be lazy in their skills, I just don’t want their skills to be their focus. In my search for direction I emailed one of my best friends, a man I respect and view as very wise. I’ve pasted my email and his response below:
Where do we get the biblical argument for pursuing excellence in church? It’s morphed into this idea of perfection and it doesn’t sit well with me. I just can’t see the NT church focused on doing anything really well, but rather focused on God and the Holy Spirit in their imperfection.
Let me know. I might have a blog happening with this.
The argument for “excellence” in Christian ministry is relatively recent – part of the emphasis of the CHURCH GROWTH MOVEMENT of the last forty years.
It goes something like this;
a – God is excellent
b – We are to be like God.
c – Paul tells us to approve things that are excellent (Phil. 1:10)
d- we therefore must also disapprove of things that are not excellent.
On the surface it all makes sense and none of us would aim for sloppiness – guitars out of key, videos that don’t work, garbage that is not emptied, etc….
BUT the emphasis has been put on the wrong syllable.
a – God is excellent. Scripture refers to that quite often, but almost without exception it is in the context of His character and reputation.
b – Paul’s excellence that we are exhorted to in Phil. 1:10 is one of character. Being sincere, honest, loving people is the more excellent way God calls us to.
c – 1 Cor. 12:31 – he shows us a more excellent way – walk in love.
d – excellent in the Greek refers to a “better way, a more valuable way”. Excellence in performance is not the Christian standard. We ought to be pursuing excellence of character.
My simple musings.
To be continued…..