Aim for excellence, not perfection

January 23rd, 2017

Occasionally it’s helpful to be reminded that “perfect is the enemy of good.” Sometimes our need to be perfect gets in the way of progress. We get so caught up in every little detail that it takes away from the purpose and goal.

“Good” is okay. Sometimes we have to be okay with “good.” But “good enough” can be a problem too.

While perfection can keep us from getting things done, “good enough” often encourages us to settle for less — and it can even make us lazy.

At times, it seems like grace helps create a culture of “good enough”; a culture of average-at-best work. Because. It’s church. There’s grace for me to mess up. It’s the same line of thinking as, “It’s okay if I go and do this. God forgives.”

In other areas of work, it’s usually expected that the boss will demand more if your work is mediocre. But in churches, many leaders are afraid to even use the word “expectations” for fear of scaring people away. As Michael Slaughter once said, “Churches have lowered the bar of discipleship for membership.”

In ministry work, some churches have lowered the bar of excellence for the sake of getting things done.

Some of us have settled for mediocre because we’re afraid to have expectations of our teammates and colleagues to do their jobs and do them well. And we may have settled for “good enough” because we don't believe it's consistent with grace for someone to ask us to try harder and do better.

But grace is never about us fighting to be less and do less. I always felt that grace helps us move —not to do more — but to be more. It leads us to be more like God sees us to be; it transforms us to be more Christlike.

Perfection is a burden that no one should be asked to carry. However, I feel it’s perfectly okay — necessary, even — to demand excellence from everyone on our team. To refuse to settle for average or “good enough” and to let our work truly honor and glorify Christ.

We shouldn’t be afraid to hold one another accountable to make sure that we all follow through in what we’re supposed to do. And when we inevitably mess up and fall short, that’s when grace should take over: bringing healing and encouraging us to get up and try again.

And — as much as many of us don’t want to talk about this — sometimes the grace-filled thing is to part ways with integrity.

Let’s not settle for less. Let’s put joy, pride, love and grace into our work so that all that we do will bring honor and glory to Christ.

Let’s not aim for perfection; let’s aim for excellence, making sure we’ve given all we have and done all we can.

comments powered by Disqus