Chasing Church Excellence Can Drive You Crazy

Chasing Church Excellence Can Drive You Crazy

September 24, 2014 by

A dose of perspective from an experienced mentor can make all the difference. That’s what our upcoming event, the Certification Lab, offers. It’s a two-day, intensive workshop event, limited to 50 participants, so you can get small group interactions with expert church communicators, including Phil Bowdle. Register today. Until then, enjoy some of Phil’s perspective:

“You can’t measure excellence by what the church down the road is doing.”

For my first five years working in creative ministry, I was obsessed with the idea and the destination of “excellence.” I always felt excellence was a value often forgotten or overlooked in the church world, and I tried to make it my mantra as a young creative to fix everything and bring it up to a level of excellence I could be proud of.

I still love and value excellence. I think it’s critical to effectively communicating the story of what God is doing in and through our churches.

However, as I look back at that first season of ministry, there was something missing. Now I realize that drive for excellence created a steady rhythm of being overwhelmed, frustrated and feeling like I never arrived anywhere.

Something needed to be fixed everywhere.

Things I couldn’t control or speak into frustrated me.

Challenges went unmet thanks to limited resources and staff.

I found myself wasting so much energy moving sideways—or even backward—struggling with things beyond my control and capacity.

I realized that excellence in the church is elusive.

If I was going to survive and be effective in the call God placed on my life, a couple things needed to change.

Redefine Excellence

It’s time we redefine excellence. Excellence is not a destination. Excellence is not something you can achieve and you’re done.

Excellence is less about perfection, and more about doing the very best with what you have.

You can’t measure excellence by what the church down the road is doing. Their budget is ten times yours. Their team is bigger. Their audience is completely different. You have different missions, different goals and therefore different measures of excellence.

“Excellence is less about perfection, and more about doing the very best with what you have.”

Excellence is about the expectation. It’s maximizing what you have. Excellence is making the most of what God has given to your church.

Embrace Stewardship

As church communicators, we constantly encounter things that aren’t as good as we think they should be and need fixing. Some of these things are within our realm of control to fix. Others, simply, are not.

God has not called us to fix everything we see. Instead, God has called us to be good stewards of the time, talent, resources and responsibilities that he’s placed in our hands. Your role is not just a job. It’s a stewardship.

If God hasn’t placed a role/decision/project in your hands, that’s OK! Dive into the things that are your responsibility, and be a good steward of them. Let go of the things you can’t control. Stop worrying about them. What I’ve learned from this concept (and Matthew 25:14-30), is that if you can be a good steward of what God gives you, he promises to give you more.

Church Excellence One Day at a Time

Working in the church—especially in church communications—is a grind. It’s a challenge few understand, and it can be overwhelming. Don’t give up. Take it one day at a time, and be a good steward of each moment that God gives you.

At the end of the day, I think that’s what excellence truly is. 

More:

We do important work—sharing the gospel—but that doesn’t mean we can work ourselves to death. Learn more about how to fight church communicator burnout.

Certification Lab

Photo by Spengy.
Post By:

Phil Bowdle


Phil Bowdle is the creative arts director at West Ridge Church in Atlanta. You can follow along with his blog at PhilBowdle.com which is focused on being a practical conversation and resource on church communications.
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2 Responses to “Chasing Church Excellence Can Drive You Crazy”

  • Leigh Ann
    September 29, 2014

    Well said. God has given some a greater ability to see the gaps between where we are and where we want to be, which is a positive thing, but has the potential to be destructive if we dwell on it. Letting go of what we haven’t been given or have control of is hard to do. Not that I struggle with it or anything… :)


  • Bryan Chalker
    November 20, 2014

    Nice perspective on this. When I was on church staff, we used the term “excellence” in meetings and communications, but, to be honest…many of us just took it to mean doing our job well. I think your statement, “God has called us to be good stewards of the time, talent, resources and responsibilities that he’s placed in our hands. Your role is not just a job. It’s a stewardship.”, is a wonderful clarification for what “excellence” is. Being a steward is an ongoing process, without a defined end. I like that :)



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