This month we’ll begin our sixth year as a church body. I’m stoked and just extremely optimistic about the future. Our church isn’t large in number, maybe 250 or so, but the vibe in it just energizes me.
When we started 6 years ago, we weren’t sure what we wanted as a church. We thought we knew what we didn’t want. We didn’t want some rehashed corporate idea of an “excellent church.” Maybe I’m jaded, but even the word “excellence” makes me want to hurl. Don’t get me wrong, I believe we should do whatever we do as well as we can do it. But the golden ring of excellence just seems too egotistical and to me, ridiculous.
I mean one of the reasons I came to Christ was because I knew I wasn’t an excellent dude. Knowing that I don’t have to be excellent is part of God’s gift to me through Christ. His excellence – my cover charge. Now I have my struggles. I tend to be a perfectionist. I don’t like it when things don’t get done when and how I like them to be done. But don’t you see, that’s just the point.
I remember sitting with someone years ago and talking about emblems and churches, and this person said that their emblem (logo) for their church would look as much like a Mercedes emblem as possible. Why? Because he wanted his church to reflect the “excellence” that people came to associate with that expensive car. I thought at that time, “Man, I’ll never match this dude’s expectations.”
What is excellence? Is it our human attempts at making ourselves feel more successful, and complete? Is it doing whatever we do perfect? Is it striving for the perfect business model in doing church? Is it being “the big dog” on the block so other’s will think we’re the best pastor, and church in the area?
I think, after 30 years of ministry, and six years into this new church, that God’s view of excellence is probably a lot different than our own. I’ve told my wife, and myself, that I want to spend the rest of my days investing into the younger generation the passion that Christ gave me back in that motel room, at a surfing contest, in 1971. That for me would be excellent. To give away what has been given to me. I don’t know of a more excellent way to live.