We've all had moments where we wanted to "phone it in" and call it good enough. It's been a hectic week, you're short on manpower (again), and whatever zest for ministry you had at the start of the week has waned out of sheer exhaustion. It happens to the best of us.

Now, there are times when we need to remember the difference between excellence and perfection so we don't get too obsessed with fixing the tiniest details. However, excellence is still a goal we should all aim to achieve.

We associate the term "excellence" with high-quality products like graphics that are modern and grab attention, no misspellings in the bulletin or on screen and more. We also think of excellence in terms of how we treat first-time guests, how we make the process of childcare check-in easy with safety as the highest priority, and how we train and communicate with volunteers.

We can easily slip in any of these areas when our schedules are packed and our energy is low.

In for-profit settings, employees are working to help the company provide excellent products and/or services to their customers. Many companies provide things we rely on each day such as food, electricity, vehicles, phones and other communication devices. It's important their employees do a great job.

We have an even weightier responsibility in that our work impacts people's hearts and their eternity. Each individual is responsible for making his/her own decision as to whether to follow Christ.

However, we can (and should) do our work in such a way that we communicates the Gospel in a compelling manner through messages, small groups, and how we handle all the details that go into serving people at our churches. In Colossians 3:23-24 we read, "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ."

I've yet to meet a church staff member with lots of free time at work and not enough to do. Keeping all the plates spinning (with excellence, no less) is definitely a challenge. However, there are a few key things you can do to make excellence easier to achieve:

1. Plan ahead

Talk with your leaders about how your ministry department or even the full staff can plan for the next few months. Get out a huge calendar and mark each special event, outreach, Bible study, small group night, etc. Then note what you'll need to do to prepare for each of those events.

  • What graphics are needed?
  • When will you make announcements about the event?
  • What updates will you make to the church website?
  • When will you post items on social media about the outreach?

Get all of that information on the calendar so the whole team knows what's coming up.

2. Plan your day

Block off the last 5-10 minutes of each workday and use that time to plan what you'll do tomorrow.

  • What phone calls do you need to make?
  • What tasks do you need to start or finish tomorrow?
  • How much time will it take to complete each item?

No, this won't make your day go perfectly. However, it will definitely help you get more done when you don't have to stop and think about what you should do next.

3. Stop doing stuff

Sometimes we hold onto programs or events we've done for years even when they're no longer effective. Do you have any of those at your church? If so, get the conversation started and see if you can build consensus to stop that activity.

If you're wasting time on something that's not bearing fruit, you're robbing from other activities that could be useful. Let's stop doing what's not working.

Excellence can be challenging to achieve. However, we serve the One who went above and beyond with beautiful sunsets, intricate creation, and Who sacrificed Himself for us. He is worthy of our praise — both in words and in action.

What's amazing is He doesn't just leave us on our own. He provides us with wisdom and strength to do what He's called us to accomplish. Pray and ask for creative ideas to save time, how to be more efficient, how to develop strong relationships with volunteers and whatever else you need to be effective in ministry.

Remember, He's faithful to provide: "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" Matthew 7:11.