Your best plus 1. That’s the definition of excellence given to me by a friend and former mentor. Dr. Ken Brassfield has since gone on to be with the Lord, but his definition of excellence has stuck with me for over 10 years. We all understand that perfection is a myth and no one, and nothing will ever be “perfect.” However, we do want to strive for excellence in all that we do. That leaves us with the question, how do you define excellence? The simple definition of excellence given to me was to do your very best, and then add 1 thing. In other words strive to do your very best, and then figure out ways to grow, increase, or improve upon your best. A culture of excellence is created when we do the diligent work of offering our best. However, without a desire to grow, improve, stretch, learn, and become better we cap our potential and lose our excellence. When I sat down to craft the values of CoastLife Church the first item on the values list was excellence. After having been raised in a Pastor’s home and having been in the ministry for over a decade I am well acquainted with Churches that operate with a lack of excellence. They are easily identified by things like not be able to start a service on time, or even worse, not being able to end a service in a timely manner. I have been to a few services that I wondered if the people in charge were aware that there would indeed be a service going on that day. Did Sunday sneak up on them? I was once invited to speak at a service that was to have a potluck dinner afterwards. At the end of a very disorganized service the announcement was made that the potluck had been canceled. Evidently every single person that brought food to the potluck brought the same item, bread. That type of a lack of excellence is easy to spot. However, working from the definition of best plus 1 exposes a more subtle lack of excellence. It’s when we have a norm of offering at or near our best, but haven’t grown, increased, or attempted to go over the top in a long time. I would say most churches that I know of right now wouldn’t have a potluck dinner with just bread. However, I wonder how many could claim a culture of excellence if we applied the best plus 1 filter. Excellence isn’t just a good idea, its actually connected to your love of people, ministry, and even God. Paul ended chapter 12 of his first epistle to Corinth by saying, “I show you a more excellent way.” The next chapter to follow is what we term the love chapter. If you love people, if you love ministry, if you love God you will have a desire to operate with excellence. Here are a few questions to ask to help apply the best plus 1 filter:
1. Who is really looking at your operations?
Not everyone needs to be a critic, but a small group of people do need to be tasked with the job of critiquing the critical aspects of your church.
2. What type of self observation do you utilize to bring about improvement?
In a coaching network I came across these 4 questions I ask after every Sunday: 1. What went right 2. What went wrong 3. What was confusing/awkward 4. What was missing
3. What areas of your church/ministry have been good so long, they are no longer excellent? What areas of your church/ministry are good, but could use some fresh growth?