We shake our heads at those heathen pagans who look down upon the living God and aren’t humble enough to step one foot in our churches. With the condescending and self-righteous attitude we ask, “What’s wrong with them?” Well, perhaps we need to pause and ask ourselves if we have given outsiders a reason to want to be with us in the first place. We claim to represent God, the most wonderful, amazing, perfect and significant Person in the universe, yet the God we show is often far from the hype we profess. We may strive for excellence in other areas of our lives, but when it comes to church, well, it just has to settle for the leftovers. Quite frankly, oftentimes it is an outright embarrassment – uncut lawns, unrehearsed musicians, untouched websites, uninspiring sermons, etc. The mentality can be summed up in one word: “mediocrity!”
So why does the church get a pass when it comes to excellence? Here are a few suggestions:
1. We are hypercalvinists. We somehow think that as long as we get the doctrinal part right nothing else really seems to matter.
2. We are concerned about offending others. We tolerate people in ministries where the product produced is an unsettling representation of Christ. Maybe a particular individual based either on effort or giftedness is not the most qualified person for the job.
3. We erect a double standard. We take the “real world” seriously, but when it comes to the “spiritual world” anything goes.
4. We settle for second best because we are content with failure. We reason, after all “it’s better than nothing.”
5. We take for granted the work of the Holy Spirit. We somehow think we can put forth any product and then expect Him to “bless our mess.”
6. We are not getting paid. We reason since it is volunteer work that we are excused to kick it back a little when it comes to standards, commitment and energy.
7. We misunderstand God’s grace. We believe since God has fully accepted us in Christ, we are off the hook when it comes to doing any “works” in His name. Grace has become a cheap excuse for laziness and half-heartedness.
Let’s first and foremost be amazed and awestricken with the excellence of God (Ex. 15:7). Then let’s allow Him through the power of His grace to use us to show His excellencies in everything that we claim to do in His name (1 Pet. 2:9)!