Mediocrity is the order of the day in some churches. But the Holy Spirit is calling us to a level of excellence that will impact our communities for Christ.
Let's be real--local churches, often on the same city block, vie for the attention of prospective members. But what causes certain ministries to experience consistent growth, while other groups experience little or no growth? How do successful groups attain prestige and a good reputation? The answer is one word: excellence.

To be excellent means to possess outstanding qualities. The verb form of this word is excel, which means "to rise." In essence, every effort made to obtain a spirit of excellence in both spiritual and practical matters will cause your church to rise above the status quo in ministry.

One trademark of excellence is consistency. Whether it is with a weekly worship service or an annual event, consistency is a good indicator of a church's level of commitment. When my husband and I co-founded the New Antioch Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles, we rented a small storefront, painted the inside and made it look as neat and as attractive as possible. We didn't have printed bulletins, welcome ribbons or greeters at the front door as we do today.

Every local assembly, annual conference or retreat had to start somewhere. Scripture tells us not to despise such small beginnings because the Lord rejoices to see the work begin (see Zech. 4:10).

Even though the number on your staff may vary and your budget will fluctuate, an attitude of excellence must be apparent because it leaves a lasting impression on people. Don't become "stuck" in the mode of "any ole thing will do." With the many choices people have nowadays, you will find yourself doing it "any ole way" all by yourself.

Excellence will only flow in fresh waters. Archaic methods obstruct churches from doing extraordinary exploits for God.

Tradition is valuable when applied to principles, posterity or moral values. However, tradition and excellence will often collide when leaders become locked into the mind-sets, "We've always done it this way," or "If it's not broke, don't fix it." These statements are key indicators that mediocrity is the order of the day.

The following strategies will help a ministry thrive in a spirit of excellence:

Meditate on the excellence of God. We are created in the image of our awesome and excellent Father. He has given us access to all that He has and is. Because all that He is, is available to us, why not flow in His strength and wisdom?

Develop a mission statement. This helps you to focus on your goals and objectives. Insist every staff member be aware of and frequently rehearse the mission statement. It will become the standard for accomplishing tasks.

Regularly assess accomplishments and ministry needs. Every composite group possesses strengths, gifts and abilities unequaled to any other. While excellence mandates consistent evaluation, it is also crucial that the morale of team members be fortified with affirmation and appreciation.

Interface often with accomplished leaders. Be inquisitive. Find out what other effective ministries are doing. Attend some of their meetings. Go "incognito" if you can. This allows you the freedom to observe and to ask questions.

Spend quality time with those whose experience and achievements surpass yours. Most leaders will freely share their successes and failures.

Godly leaders on the cutting edge often speak of excellence and display it in both their public and private lives. God positions these leaders as conduits for progress. It is often said that excellence is not a destination, but a process. Why don't you allow God to chart your path to a more excellent way?

Barbara McCoo Lewis is the supervisor of women for the Southern California First Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction for the Church of God in Christ. She oversees the leadership of women in 250 churches.

Leaders are readers! Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Ministry Today, Charisma and SpiritLed Woman all for $24. YES - I'm a leader!

Ministry Today Subscription Special - Subscribe to Ministry Today magazine today and get 12 issues (2 full years) plus Amplified Leadership, a free leadership book for only $24.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
  • A new path is opening now.

    Prophecy: The Lord Is Opening Doors for Kingdom-Minded Businesses

    Find out how to activate this prophetic word of increase in your company.

  • Do you have the proper training to be a soldier in God's army?

    The Training You Need as a Soldier in God's Army

    We are in already in a war. Let us enter the fight as fully trained soldiers with the full armor ...

  • Greeter ministry

    5 Common Greeter Mistakes to Correct in the New Year

    Like those involved in any other ministry, greeters can get in a rut.

  • Saddleback Church

    One Clear-Cut Sign Your Church Is Mature and Healthy

    A church's health is measured by its obedience to this important mandate, not by its seating ...

  • Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Watch how God can take one spark and turn it into a wildfire that impacts your ministry, your community and even future generations.

  • There are reasons your membership is stuck around the 400 level.

    5 Reasons Churches Don't Break the 400-Member Barrier

    This may force you to make some tough decisions.

  • Plow that stump

    Plow Around That Stump, Pastor

    Most churches have sacred cows. Here are some challenges you might face.

  • Strengthen your church by investing more time and energy in small groups.

    5 Ways to Strengthen Your Church in 2017

    These suggestions will help you better serve your congregation and community.

  • Flowers

    Does Your Ministry Address Scarcity?

    An abundance mentality enhances our vision of scarcity.

Use Desktop Layout
Ministry Today Magazine — Serving and empowering church leaders