Excellence is the American Church’s idol?


O.K., so shoot me now! I know that I apologized beforehand for some of this weeks posts….this being one of them. First of all let me say that it is my belief that we should do everything that we do to the best of our God-given abilities. We should strive to do the best with what God has gifted us with. But, where in the Bible does it say that God expects excellence from us in the Church? It may be in there, I’m not sure, but I believe that God is more interested in our hearts and our motives and that we’ve done all that we do to His glory and to the best of our abilities. But what if our very best isn’t excellent? What if all we have to give just doesn’t measure up to some preconceived notion of what excellence is? We as the Church in America have really gone off the deep end sometimes with this excellence thing. Can God use something that isn’t excellent? I think He used Moses even though he was slow of speech and probably had a stutter. I believe the Bible says that God is into using the weak, the foolish things of this world to show His power. I’ll tell you right now, I’m foolish, I’m weak! How about you? Don’t get me wrong, I believe that we should strive for excellence…it can send a good message to outsiders, but I believe a greater thing to strive for is authenticity, to be real.

I think there is a danger in placing so much emphasis on our excellence. It can get to the point where we don’t feel we need God to show up anymore. I know, I’ve been there. may we never have it together so much that we feel we don’t need God to show up.

The most effective sermon I ever preached was on a missions trip to rural Mississippi. I was tired, ill-prepared (I was given about 3 hours notice that I would be preaching) and nervous. I fumbled through the entire message, forgetting points and a few of the great stories that were there to make it interesting. When I sat down, I was sure that I’d failed as a pastor. I wasn’t excellent like Andy Stanley or Francis Chan. I didn’t “bring it” like Craig Groeschel or T.D. Jakes. I didn’t deliver the goods like Rick Warren or Bill Hybels. Heck….I wasn’t even nice like Joel Osteen. I was shocked when the altar filled with dozens (and I mean several dozen) people who wanted to give their lives to Christ. Excellent? No. Usable? You betcha. I guess the old adage is true. God is more interested in availability than ability.

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