Pressing Toward Excellence

Pressing Toward Excellence

Lisa Hammonds, Assistant Editor

Recently, I was talking to a friend about society’s seeming contentment with complacency. It’s one thing for such a laissez-faire attitude to persist in the secular realm; but as Christians, it is simply unacceptable. Now, more than ever, we need to commit to excellence.

The God we serve provides us with the best and deserves nothing less from us in our worship and work. Whether it is striving to improve our talent, be better stewards of our time, or sharing our treasure, we must present our best.

As a pastor, I repeatedly encounter church musicians who play by ear. While gifted enough to learn songs for the choir from YouTube videos and from the radio, I’m amazed when they can’t (or don’t ) know our church liturgy! It adds insult to injury when some of them have been playing for our churches for years! A commitment to excellence looks like sitting down with a musician who does know the liturgy (from that same church or another one down the street) and learning it. Unfortunately, that musician’s lack of commitment to excelling their gift/craft in service has costs. The church has to pay two musicians, one to play the liturgy and one to play for the choir. The worship experience is also usually limited by the musician’s repertoire as if they can’t get the liturgy, chances are hymns, anthems, and traditional gospel are out as well.

Committing to excellence extends to everyone. Whether we are preachers, teachers, doctors, or accountants, it behooves us to take advantage of continuing education opportunities. And ways to stay abreast of contemporary issues. Cost need not be a deterrent. I’ve been out of seminary for 17 years but I mentor a young woman who is currently pursuing her Master of Divinity degree. At our monthly meetings, she introduces me to new theological approaches and practitioners. The number of pastors who are still computer illiterate continues to baffle me. Chances are you possess a smart phone (which is a mini computer). A suggested  intergenerational activity is to ask the youth to teach adults how to receive/send texts, emails, and even Facebook.

Today, complacency has the potential to be deadly. We do not have (if we ever had) the pleasure of sitting idly and allowing life to simply happen. The status quo cannot be the order of the day. Whatever strives we’ve collectively or individually made must be honed and taken to another level. Let’s commit to excellence!

Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

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  1. Very interesting. I meet church folk everyday, I’m finding that it is my prayer that they are “Wise”, but I’m finding that they are “Other Wise”. Other Wise you would not have to write articles like this. Everyone want to grow but no on want to change! The sad part of the story is you can’t grow without changing and you can’t change without growing. You must take the time to get the two in balance or you will crash and burn!
    Great article Rev. Lisa!

  2. Reverend Lisa, You certainly expressed my sentiment about giving God our best. Far too many talented musicians the church has helped to receive their training and all we get is a constant request for a raise. Yet, they arrive late for worship, dressed like they are going on a picnic, play so loud that it bursts your eardrums because the sound system makes it too loud. Even when they know the liturgy, some Sundays they seem to drag it, are off key, or choir members are texting and talking among themselves. Then as soon as they finish singing, leave the choir sand and church never staying for the WORD. THEY HAVE NOT LEARNED THAT CHURCH WORK IS A COMMITMENT NOT A CONVENIENCE.

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