26 07 2010

In the church world you hear a lot about doing things with excellence.  Excellence is one of those buzz words that everyone likes to use, but what does that actually mean?  Does it mean every service has to look like a Cirque du Soleil show or U2 concert?  Of course not, but depending on the client I’m being employed by (a church, event organizer, band, etc), excellence means different things and the trick to maintaining your sanity is to discover what the target of excellence is for that situation.  In a highly programmed environment, the excellence bar is set very high because every element has been planned out, considered, walked through and often time rehearsed multiple times.  If you have a high bar of excellence, mistakes or miscues should be very rare.  In a highly fluid and non-planned environment (I would say this is the norm for smaller events and charismatic churches) excellence is still achievable, it just looks different.  In an environment where the worship set isn’t known or communicated, excellence may be defined as having lyrics up before the first verse is done.  If who will be on stage is not communicated in advance, excellence may mean being a little more generic in order to make sure everyone is lit.  These may seem like shortcomings to an experienced tech but I view excellence as producing the best results possible with the level of planning, gear, volunteers and staff that you have..  I would submit it this way:  Excellence = Perfection – (gear limitations + personnel limitations + lack of production values).  In other words, in order to be excellent you should produce the best results possible with the gear and people you have along with the level of planning and information that exists, or to put it simply the best you can do under the circumstances.  Often times part of my job is to get those details and make a plan out of it, but if the boss won’t give the details or doesn’t even know them, I have to do the best I can with what I have and the excellence bar is shifted.

I’ve been in highly fluid, less planned situations as well as in highly programmed situations and both require a lot of work and forethought.  Highly programmed situations have a super high bar set and lots of work and planning go in to make big and often more complicated things to happen.  This can be a fun atmosphere for a tech guy to be a part of because you get to do big, crazy things.  In more fluid situations, lots of work and planning go into making our systems and processes as flexible as possible so that changes can be made as quickly and as seamlessly as possible.  I may not be able to pull off the same looks or effects, but I can still reach excellence.  The bar for the final result is in a different place in this situation, the trick is to find it, communicate that bar with your team, build some flexibility into your systems and processes in order to accommodate it, and leave at the end of the day knowing you did the best you can under the circumstances.  It’s all you can do, and many churches and events have a huge impact on people reaching their level of excellence.

Are you frustrated with where your level of excellence is?  Do you feel like you’re ineffective in ministry because your level of excellence is lower than others?  I have always been one to strive towards raising the bar of excellence in my ministry by installing new and improved systems, recruiting skilled people, or possibly just training the people you already have.  I want to work with people who want to grow and raise their level of excellence, but we must remember that people have come to know Jesus without any technology for many years and they will continue to meet Him regardless of how good a job we do.  We can certainly help our churches be much more effective in ministry, but their salvation is not on us.  Simply put, we are not responsible to save people, God is.  As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:6, “I planted the seed, and Apollos watered it.  But God is the One who made it grow.”  While working our way towards this thing called excellence our primary job as tech leaders and operators is to water the seeds the best we can but excellence or not remember that God is the One who makes it grow.  The best news I can think of is that regardless of our level of excellence, God can make that seed grow.




2 responses

26 07 2010


30 07 2010

Really cool thoughts.

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