Tag Archives: perfection in ministry

The very best

15 Feb


Sitting down at the piano with 1:38 left on the countdown video, I arranged the charts I hadn’t seen since the rehearsal four days ago.  My scrawled pencil marks reminded me of some basic cues, but my heart squeezed my blood pressure until I felt my pulse in my fingers. “I meant to practice.  Really,” I whispered a quick confession, not daring to ask for his help since I hadn’t made time to practice.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I led our worship teams in a study of Psalm 33:3

         Sing to him a new song;
.               play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

The word skillfully means “with excellence and great skill”. Excellence is one of our worship ministry’s top values.

Here’s why – if we are worshiping the God of the universe, the Creator of all things, the Father who sent His only Son to die for our sins and who adopted us, our Sustainer and Provider (the list could go on and on); if this is Who we worship, how can we give Him anything less than our very best?

Excellence is doing the very best we can
with what we have for God’s glory

Excellence is doing the very best we can with what we have for God’s glory. Excellence takes many forms, is intentional, and includes sacrifice. A short list of examples–

  • Making personal practice a priority instead of “winging it” (!)
  • Valuing mid-week rehearsal, being on time and staying engaged even as it gets late
  • Not being satisfied with the status quo, constantly looking for a way to improve
  • Reading the equipment manual and learning new technical solutions to issues
  • Getting up really early every Sunday for a tech tun-through so that each element and is tested, rehearsed, and ready to go

Excellence is different from perfectionism.

Perfectionism may look the same as excellence on the outside, but the heart attitude and motivation couldn’t be more different.  Perfectionism strives for a flawless performance and is dissatisfied with anything less. The goal is a perfect end product with an inherent at-any-cost mentality, so that mistakes loom larger than all else. Ego and reputation are wrapped up in delivering an impeccable performance, consequently, a disappointing presentation means the performer’s worth is greatly reduced. Simply put, this is pride– performance for self.

Excellence seeks to do its very best, and is happy with a less-than-perfect result. Far from a “settling” mindset, however, excellence learns from mistakes and works to make the next time even better.  The focus is on God and pleasing him, not on the performance or on self.

Excellence is doing the very best we can with what we have for God’s glory.


Ready for Sunday

What am I doing during the week to get ready for Sunday so that my contribution to the service is excellent?

How do my priorities reflect my commitment to worship God with excellence?  (One answer to this for me is that I now put “practice” on my schedule!)

What other activities, practices, and attitudes are important to excellence?

This is the first post in a 3-part series on Excellence vs. Perfectionism.
Next week: “What we have”

The Voice

11 Aug

“I am the good shepherd;I know my sheep and my sheep know me.”  John 10:14

At rehearsal this week we learned a song written by a team member that has a tricky instrumental bridge–  three pairs of two hits that aren’t on the downbeat, but somewhere between one and the and of one.  I couldn’t analyze or notate it.  I had to listen and let it sink in until it became a part of my musical soul. _____________________________________________________________________

I’m in a season of soul-listening to Jesus.  Not because I don’t know His voice– I do– but because other voices around me are so loud and insistent, and my soul gets fractured trying to attend to so many different sources.

And I miss The Voice.

The Ministry Voice incessantly chatters a long list of “shoulds” that assault my soul like water-torture droplets on my forehead.  The Good Shepherd reminds me that He didn’t meet every need while He walked the earth, but He did accomplish all that the Father asked.

The Perfection Voice clucks its tongue with the slightest imperfection and screams, “Loser!”  The Good Shepherd asks me to do the best I can with what He’s given me for His glory, and lovingly whispers, “Well done.”

The Righteous Voice reminds me of my rights, especially the right to be offended when others don’t honor my rights.  The Good Shepherd draws me to Himself, nodding His head and assuring me He understands.

The Self-Interest Voice rises in pitch indignantly as circumstances and people’s needs creep into my agenda.  The Good Shepherd lovingly teaches me that He came to serve (not to be served), and that I am not above my Master.


By the end of the rehearsal the team was tight because we listened to the songwriter until we each knew the progression.  Then we practiced it until it was collectively ingrained and unconscious.  We were able to get past the mechanics of the rhythm and give our attention to Jesus.


Ready for Sunday

Today I am having one of those “DUH!” moments.

  • How can I lead others to the Shepherd if I’m not listening for His voice?
  • And why do I listen to the other voices?  Their goal is too enslave me; the Good Shepherd wants to set me free!
  • He has made my spirit to connect with Him at the deepest of levels.  “Deep calls to deep!”  Why to I settle for a shallow shadow?

So what needs to change?

Time spent with the Good Shepherd, at His feet, listening to His voice– to the exclusion of all others.  When I am thoroughly saturated in His truth, the lies become clear and lose their hold on me heart.  Fakes fade in the presence of The Voice.

He knows me.

I listen to Him.

Full stop.

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