From striving for perfection to pursuing excellence
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
We serve the God of the universe. He owns cattle on a thousand hills. He created the planets, stars and all those gorgeous sunsets we see pictures of on Instagram. Put simply, He's a big deal, so naturally we want to serve Him out of love and respect for who He is and what He has done.
As church leaders, you're working each day to spread the Gospel and make disciples. Whether you're a pastor, worship leader, accountant, graphics designer or IT genius, you have a role to play in making your church's vision a reality. As you use your talents in your church, there's a tension between wanting to get everything perfect and striving for excellence.
The problem is that perfection is a tough taskmaster. There's always a slightly better way to write that sentence, improve that process or communicate that message. If seeking perfection is slowing you down and keeping you from getting work done, maybe it's time to consider what excellence looks like. Since excellence means different things to different people, here are a few practical examples:
Excellence Tip 1: Communicate with your audience in mind
You don't have to be the best public speaker or the best writer to communicate effectively. Yes, it's great to polish those skills. However, all the writing lessons in the world won't help if you don't understand your audience.
If you're writing an email newsletter for your church, consider who subscribes to receive that email. How often do they want to receive messages from their church? Do they want a long narrative-form email or bullet points?
Learn what works best for your audience and then craft your message.
Excellence Tip 2: Spell check
I know, this seems too simple and elementary, but when we get in a rush or focus too much on perfecting the text, it's the obvious stuff that falls through the cracks. I've lost count of the number of times I've seen misspelled words in church bulletins and worship lyrics. It's distracting, makes the church look unprofessional, yet is easy to fix.
Have someone other than the original author (preferably someone who is detail-oriented) proofread mass emails, bulletins, worship lyrics, printed materials, etc. It doesn't take that much time to do, but it will build trust and respect with those who read the materials.
Excellence Tip 3: Keep your commitments
This is another simple, yet powerful tip. When you are known for consistently keeping your commitments, it builds confidence that your word is solid. People will respect who you are and what you say by what you do.
This means meeting deadlines you commit to, showing up on time and prepared for meetings or events, returning emails in a timely fashion, and much more. In the rare occasion you have to be late or break a commitment, be as transparent as possible regarding what went wrong then seek to fix the issue. If you've built up trust over the long run, a minor slip-up won't cost you the relationship.
I could list many more examples, but these are practical places to start. Pursuing excellence means offering your best work on a consistent basis. It involves paying attention to the details and honoring your commitments.
Such simple steps make people curious. Why do they keep their word even when it costs them? What motivates them to go the extra mile? Your daily faithfulness, even in the seemingly little things, can lead someone to Christ.
Don't worry about perfection. God has that covered. Seek to do excellent work while trusting Him to give you wisdom along the way.
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