This post is the eighth post in a series on the core values of worship ministry. These core values were selected by David Loftis, worship pastor at Pleasant Garden Baptist Church, NC. These posts are taken from a series of devotions he asked me to write to accompany a training series he did on these core values. Click here to read the entire series.
Have you ever heard a church band or church choir do a poor job on a song and someone pipes up and says, “Well, the Bible says make a joyful noise – it doesn’t say that it necessarily has to sound good!” While that sentiment is true to an extent since God looks at the heart rather than the outward appearance or sound (1 Sam. 16:7), God also models excellence for us and calls us to it. Since motives and the heart are the important things to God, doesn’t that mean that we should strive to do our best? Paul and Old Testament Joseph are great examples of striving for excellence. Paul reminded us that all the runners in a race run, but only one wins the prize. Just ask the Olympic athletes we watched compete a few months ago.
It’s important to recognize that there is a difference between striving to be perfect versus endeavoring to be excellent. Achieving perfection is an impossible task because it never makes allowances for errors or missteps. Consequently, condemnation and discouragement often follow one’s pursuit of perfection because these unrealistic expectations lead to feelings of worthlessness and a sense of inadequacy. The true goal of excellence is to do the best you can with what you have at every moment.
Andrew Carnegie said that “An average person puts only 25% of their energy and ability into their work. The world takes its hat off to those who put more than 50% capacity in, and stands on its head to those few and far between souls who devote 100%.” What percentage of effort are you willing to give to God? After all, it is God that we are working for and serving. Two great verses in Colossians 3 speak to this. First, Col. 3:17 says, “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Then, Col. 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”
In order to move toward excellence, the worship ministry will require your time and effort outside of scheduled practice and performance times. When choir rehearsal and band rehearsal are times to polish the songs that have already been learned at home or when the sound and video team spends practice fine-tuning what has already been prepared in advance, the worship ministry can become consistently excellent. And excellent work is the bridge of credibility for evangelism.