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.
Everywhere I would look, I would find things that need fixing, frustrated by things that I couldn’t control or speak into, and facing challenges with limited resources and staff. I was wasting sideways energy on so much that I couldn’t control, feeling like excellence was the destination that I’d never actually get to arrive at.
If I was going to survive and be effective in the call God placed on my life, a couple things needed to change.
It’s time to redefine excellence. Excellence isn’t a destination. Excellence is less about perfection, and more about doing the very best with what you have. You can’t measure it by what the church down the road does with a budget 10x as big as yours. Excellence is about the expectation of you and your team that you’re going to maximize all that you have.
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.
Working in the church, especially in church communications, is a grind. It’s a challenge that few understand, and can be overwhelming. Don’t give up. Take it a 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.