3 Ways to Restore Sanity to the Excellence Value

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Orignally posted March 13, 2012

Take a look at your organization’s core values. I’ll bet “excellence” is listed there someplace.

I’d also be willing to bet that the misunderstanding of that value has caused your organization a degree of grief, frustration and confusion.

To help restore a bit of sanity to this important value, here are three important distinctions that must be understood.

1.   Understand the distinction between professionalism and excellence
Professionalism is an often misguided attempt to mimic the sheen and polish of a Broadway production or Hollywood blockbuster. At its heart, professionalism is merely showmanship.

Whereas the heart of excellence, to quote Bill Hybels, “honours God and inspires people”. It’s reflected in a passionate desire to simply not settle for anything less than our best.

2.   Understand the distinction between individual excellence and corporate excellence
Individual excellence means “do your best”. Corporate excellence means “do OUR best”.

This shows up all the time in local churches. For example, if deacon Joe sings a solo at the weekend service, individual excellence would call him to do HIS best. But if he simply cannot sing well, and if there are others in the church far more gifted in vocal ministry, corporate excellence would call for that more gifted person to do the solo.

Corporate excellence calls for the congregation’s best, not just an individual’s best.

3.   Understand the distinction between perfection and excellence
Perfection, almost by definition, is either unattainable or unsustainable. It can lead to an almost neurotic pursuit of error-free ministry that can suck the joy out of your organization.

Excellence, on the other hand, creates an inspiring environment which sees teams spurring one another on. It recognizes that God has only ever given us His very best; therefore we ought to do no less for Him.

If the excellence value has been causing your organization undue angst, don’t discard the value. Instead, take it out, brush it off, and apply these three points of clarity to how you live it out.

Your sanity will be restored, and your church may indeed move to new heights of excellence you never thought possible.

How do you apply the excellence value in your organization?

the author

Scott Cochrane

Vice President- International, Willow Creek Association. Love Jesus, Nora, Adam & Robin, Amy, Dave & Willow and John, Fiona & Will. Lifelong learner.

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