Excellence Matters

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I saw this sign while I was driving down the road the other day and it reminded me of an important leadership principle. It’s important to note that I wholeheartedly believe the message that is written on this sign. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus is God. I believe with all of my heart that everyone should confess their sins and repent to Jesus Christ. Also, I believe everyone should love Jesus Christ with their heart, mind, and soul. In fact, I have dedicated and given my life to preaching this exact message. So why would I shudder and be filled with dread when my life’s message is being displayed for thousands of people to see as they drive along a busy highway? Because excellence matters. Scriptures clearly teach that we are God’s ambassadors here on earth. In other words, we are his representation to the world. How we go about proclaiming our message and doing ministry is setting people’s perception of God’s eternal kingdom. The materials we use, the methodology we use, and the attitude we exhibit are all conveying a message. I never want a poorly conveyed message to cause people to miss the majesty of our Lord and King. I used to teach a leadership lesson called Brown Bag Christianity. Sometimes we are guilty of taking the most priceless and precious gift imaginable, and presenting it to people in something as unappealing as a brown bag. Or perhaps a plywood sign and some spray paint.

Here are three filter questions when considering conveying the message of Jesus Christ through a tangible material:

1. Would you use it in your own home? If you wouldn’t use it in your house, why would you use it in God’s house or any where else? I have been guilty of this, going cheap using the excuse “we are a church.” I’m all for being thrifty, and we will continue to do so, but keep in mind the overall message and not just the cost of the material.

2. Is it current? I don’t preach from a scroll anymore, but I preach the same message that was recorded on them 2000 years ago and beyond. It’s a simple concept, yesterday’s materials won’t reach today’s generation.

3. Does the material/method hinder or obscure the message? Let’s face it. Sometimes we are guilty of falling in love with our methods and making them primary over our message. Pastor John Siebeling once talked about changing his preaching style. He actually loved to preach and loved the way he preached, but it wasn’t effective. He changed his preaching style and saw many more people come to Christ through his ministry. He said, “I had to give up something I loved for something I loved more.”

Excellence Matters.

How To Be a Bad Church Member

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Ever wanted to set your church back and create an unhealthy culture? Here is a short list of things to do to:

1. Constantly point out what should be done, but never volunteer to actually do anything. (People with workable solutions and the desire to roll up their sleeves and get the job done are invaluable to a church)

2. Always be late for church services (Guests have determined whether or not they will come back within the first 7 minutes of visiting your church. When you arrive 15 minutes late they have already determined that you don’t care about your church so why should they)

3. Expect the best preaching, music, programs, and facilities, but don’t give or give very little and expect someone else to pay for it. (Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Its amazing how when you invest into your local church you become much more supportive and much less critical.)

4. Attend as inconsistently as possible. Try not to make more than 1 or 2 services a month. (The bible clearly commands church attendance in Hebrews 10:25. Its amazing that the reasons given are never about what we will receive if we go to church, but rather about what we can give when we go. You may not need to be there, but someone else needs you to be there. Go to church. Worship, support, encourage, uplift, welcome guests. You are needed every Sunday!)

5. Never invite your friends, family, and coworkers to church. They should have no idea where you go and what you do each and every Sunday. (Coworkers, neighbors, friends, and family members are all strategically placed into your life by God. Invest into your church and into their lives by inviting them to church.)

6. Talk about the people you attend church with instead of praying for them. (Attending church should mean we have a community of support to ensure spiritual growth and not a place to be criticized and judged harshly. We could all stay in the world and get that.)

7. Be as flaky as possible. When you do show up be sure to second guess what and how things are being done. Spend a lot of time at coffee shops discussing what’s wrong with the church and church leaders, but never be faithful enough to actually carry the heavy load of leading a ministry yourself. (It takes a lot of faithfulness to rise to leadership in a church. The people who show up the most usually end up carrying the biggest burden. When people who are uncommitted to sacrificially giving of their time show up sporadically to second guess what’s going on it discourages the leaders of your church. If someone else is doing it and you are not personally involved in it, try encouraging them instead of second guessing them.)

8. Play quiet as a mouse, still as a rock during church services. (When we worship it touches heaven. When we don’t it not only hinders what God is trying to do in our services, it also makes it difficult on the service leaders. Never underestimate the power of your involvement in worship and your support of the message. I believe not only will you be blessed, but you are also helping to create the atmosphere for people to be saved, healed, and restored in the Presence of God.)

9. Bring your kids into the service instead of the Children’s Ministry that volunteers have worked hard to prepare for. Because its your child the other people attending will really enjoy the noise and distraction. (Each week volunteers work hard and pray hard to be effective in ministering to children. I personally witness the frustration of our volunteers when parents opt to take their child into the service instead of supporting the ministry provided. Nothing in the service is geared towards your child’s age and they most likely will end up being bored and a distraction. Support your church’s Children’s Ministry by checking your child in each week. Also, the guests sitting nearby you will appreciate it as well.)

10. Never pray for your Pastor and the Leaders of your church. (Most people will never see the effort, passion, and even tears that are sown into a church by its leaders. Pray for your Pastor and other leaders of your church.)