Big Picture

Tips & Tricks

A More Excellent Way

-Barth and Sally Middleton

Do you enjoy marking off items from your to-do list? Completing a task should bring satisfaction—unless you’ve rushed through it and did not do it well.

When you settle for mediocrity, those you lead will follow your example. In Secrets of Excellence, George Sweeting writes, “Mediocrity is crawling on hands and knees when we were created to stand, walk, run and even mount up like an eagle and fly.”1 Rising higher means more and better things will be accomplished for the Lord. It also requires hard work and continual commitment.

Our God Is Excellent

Because we serve an excellent God, we want our work to represent Him in the best possible way. How aware are you of the one you are serving? A comment in The Leadership Bible says, “As followers of Christ, the motive that drives us to excellence should be a desire to please the one who will give us our final reward.”2

Pride should not motivate your efforts to achieve excellence. Your ministry will falter if you rely on your own talents instead of developing a conscious dependence on the Lord. Similarly, don’t seek praise or recognition for excellent results obtained through Christ’s strength. Colossians 3:23-24 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

Keep in mind, too, that although God is your standard, excellence does not mean perfection. We once prepared a booklet for distribution and discovered too late that it contained a typo. Because the rest of the content was excellent, we distributed the booklet anyway. Don’t be discouraged by occasional small mistakes.

Limit Your To-Do List for Excellent Results

Because you are a leader, people probably ask you to head committees, join various groups, speak at meetings, organize a project and on and on. These requests can become ego boosters. Be sure to submit each one to God for direction.

Generally, scheduling more than you can handle is a bad idea. It often results in a less-than-excellent job in all areas of your ministry. Wisely turn down an invitation that arrives in your hands too close to another event, falls in the middle of a heavily scheduled month, does not fit your expertise or simply does not appeal to you.

Feel free to adjust plans when a project hits a snag. A leader in our church was in charge of a missions conference scheduled to last several days. Then his wife got sick and our pastor was diagnosed with cancer. Instead of staging a less-than-excellent event, he simplified the program to fit in a single evening and did an outstanding job.

Put Together an Excellent Team

To achieve excellence, recruit people to strengthen your weaknesses. Find a proofreader if your handouts are full of errors. Let a dynamic speaker moderate your meetings. Ask gifted servers to provide refreshments for staff meetings. Allow a person with computer creativity to develop and maintain your ministry Web site.

The people you select must be able to do more than provide professional-quality service. Each needs a ministry heart as well. Together your team can look for a more excellent way to do the work God has chosen you to do.

1 Moody Press, p.12, ©1985.

2 General Editor Dr. Sid Buzzell, Zondervan Publishing House, p. 1400, ©1998.

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