6 Ways to Seek Excellence and Grow Through It

A few years ago my husband and I started attending a very large church that, to some, might seem to have it all together but I think they would be the first to admit they don’t.

We are so thankful for our time there. We learned so much and we got to rest and recover.

But some of the typical things that people encounter with larger churches were things that we found to be challenging, and at times frustrating.

  • It was hard sometimes to feel connected.
  • At times things felt a little too well rehearsed.
  • And we wondered if we were “cool” enough.

Shocking, I know.

I have a tattoo. Matt wears skinny jeans. What more could you want?

 Photo Credit: Dustin Lee

Photo Credit: Dustin Lee

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Despite our frustrations, none of these things were deal breakers.

We were called there for a season and we LOVED it. Every time we set foot on campus or involved ourselves in any area of ministry, we sensed we were in a place led by people embracing excellence.

We were sold. 

Why?

Because people who remain submitted to God and committed to excellence are a force to be reckoned with.

Over the years, they had cultivated a very specific culture and had embraced change in a very real way. Still, in spite of all the changes, there was never this moment of having “arrived”.

There will never be a moment when any of us “arrive” this side of heaven.

 

That said, here are a few observations about excellence that I believe are worth considering:

 

1. Excellence is not Always Obvious

During a renovation, someone might be tempted to slap some paint on the walls but ignore the plumbing. In the end, the house might look pretty, but it won’t function the way it’s supposed to. In this case, what you can’t see is far more important than what you can. We shouldn’t assume that we know what’s going on behind the scenes simply because what we are seeing either does or doesn’t meet our standards. Just because it’s pretty doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Just because it needs improvement doesn’t mean someone somewhere isn’t working on it.

 

2. Excellence is not Overnight

Progress has plateaus. These plateaus are merely “rest stops” that enable us to reflect...not “Park the camper here honey! We’re stayin’ forever!” Excellence is progressive. We celebrate where we’re at and look with expectation to the future. Knowing there is further yet to come, we must savor this current season because with it comes the vitality to embrace what’s next. (Tweet This)

 

3. Excellence Admits there are Blind Spots

We all have blind spots. That’s why we need each other. I need you to tell me when I should get my act together. A good friend tells you when you have a booger on your face.  Excellence knows there is a booger and goes ahead and asks where it is. Crude analogy, I know, but you get the picture.

 

4. Excellence is a Good Steward

When you embrace excellence, hard work is a given. But if you spread your resources too thin, then eventually your efforts will falter and there will be casualties. When you try to do everything, you’re basically asking to be mediocre. That's because excellence is very, very intentional. Is one area suffering because another is on life support? You’ve got to take care of what you've been given, so that you’re focusing on progress, not just survival.

 

5. Excellence Makes the Adjustment

Excellence is not afraid to say this isn’t working and EDIT, EDIT, EDIT. Revisions can always be made. If people are on the same page with the vision, then they will know decisions aren’t being made arbitrarily but with strategy. Things will recover.

 

6. Excellence is Gracious

When excellence is being pursued corporately, people don’t get left behind because of their imperfections. There’s something about excellence that brings the best out in people. It holds us to a higher standard. Excellence will lovingly rebuke but it will not abandon. 

 

Excellence doesn’t always look like excellence. Sometimes it’s messy.

But here’s the cool thing, when you cultivate a culture of excellence, you’ll find you’re almost always ahead of the curve. You become a leader, whether you've planned for it or not.

A lot of these things remind me of my relationship with God, not necessarily because I’m excellent in and of myself, but because He is.

He works on me behind the scenes. He’s patient with me and I am so thankful! He tells me where I’m missing it, as He helps me focus my energy in the right places.

As long as we are submitted to Him, we can know He is going to help us make the adjustments we need to.

There's a word for this. I think its called, "Growth."

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
— Philippians 3:13-14
 

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