The Problem Most Churches Don’t Even Know They Have
By Aaron Chesterfield
In the Spring of 2014, I was visiting a friend’s church in Northern California. After the service, my friend introduced me to the Pastor and happened to mention that I was a church consultant. When the Pastor learned of my occupation, his eyes lit up and he proceeded to ask me a series of questions, but his final question was the most important one. He asked, “What’s the biggest problem you see in churches you visit?” My answer was short and concise. I replied, “A lack of excellence.” I could tell he was surprised. Perhaps he was expecting me to say that backbiting, offense, or a decline in giving was the main problem of most churches. “By far,” I continued, “a lack of excellence is what is silently killing many churches.”
What is Excellence?
Webster’s Dictionary defines excellence as “Going above and beyond to produce quality results atypical (not typical) to the norm,” or in other words, not choosing to be Status Quo. To further define this, we must realize that Excellence is a Spirit. We know this because we’re told in Daniel 6:3, “Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an Excellent Spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.”
How Do I Know if I have the Spirit of Excellence?
The bible tells us in Genesis 1:26 that we were created in God’s image. And we know that one of God’s attributes is Excellence. We know this because after He created man, animals, day, night, and everything on earth and in the heavens, the bible tells us, “And God saw that it was good.” So if God has a Spirit of Excellence—and we were created in His image, we also have the Spirit of Excellence.
So if We All Have a Spirit of Excellence, What’s the Problem?
Simply put, most people aren’t operating in a Spirit of Excellence, but rather in a spirit of mediocrity. Excellence has to be cultivated. For example, I’m a pianist and I was born with a musical gift. But I wasn’t born knowing how to play the piano or knowing how to read music. I had to cultivate my gift by taking piano lessons and spending time practicing. A musical gift and the gift of Excellence must both be cultivated.
Have you ever visited a church that just doesn’t seem to have their stuff together? When you arrive, the greeters are in deep conversations with each other…the worship service starts late…the sanctuary is under-maintained, etc. On the other hand, have you ever been to a church that seems to be running on all cylinders? You’re greeted with smiling faces, the building is clean, worship is top-notch, the announcements are short and to the point, and the Pastor’s message is life-changing for all. Why such a stark contrast from church-to-church? Remember this phrase: Excellence is Contagious. Here’s another phrase that is equally important to know: Mediocrity is (also) Contagious. People tend to conform to the norm of those in their surroundings.
What a Lack of Excellence Says to Parishioners…
When you visit a restaurant and the hostess isn’t at her station, the server is lax in appearance and attentiveness, and the food is sub par, how does that make you feel? Unimportant? Undervalued? Unappreciated? In the same way, when our churches are operating in mediocrity (a lack of Excellence), it makes both members and visitors (who are potential members) feel unimportant, undervalued and unappreciated.
Colossians 3:23 tells us, “Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men...” So whether you are your church’s Pastor, janitor, greeter, worship team member, or children’s ministry worker, we’re all called to operate in a Spirit of Excellence. If your church isn’t operating in a Spirit of Excellence, it can begin today. It starts with just one person choosing to work enthusiastically, as to the Lord. Will that be you?
If Your Church Needs Help Cultivating a Spirit of Excellence, Contact ICWC Today…
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