therefore I quote: Mark Atteberry

I read, therefore I quote:

“Every time Christians are talking and the subject of excellence comes up, you can bet somebody will say, ‘It doesn’t really matter if things are done perfectly, as long as our hearts are right. After all, we’re not professionals.’ And there is truth in that statement. However, it’s a very short step from there to mediocrity . . . “

Mark Atteberry
The 10 Dumbest Things Christians Do

Mr. Atteberry gives three reasons why excellence matters. The first is that God loves excellence. To support his premise, he refers to and discusses a number of Bible verses, including Genesis 1:31 and Psalm 145:1-7. Mr. Atteberry’s second thought on the idea that excellence matters is that the Bible commands excellence and he refers to Colossians 3:23 which reads “Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” And finally, Mr. Atteberry claims that excellence is important because people respond to excellence.

“We all need to realize – like it or not – that we’ll probably get one chance to make a good impression. If what people see and experience when they walk through our doors is slipshod and disorganized, we likely will never see them again. And who knows, we may have soured them on church once and for all. Imagine the cumulative effect on the kingdom if thousands of churches across the country are making the same mistake.”

I love the following quote from Mr. Atteberry. I reminds me of Winston Churchill’s quote: “It’s not enough that we do our best, sometimes we have to do what’s required.”

“Excellence is intentional. It happens when people make a conscious choice to meet its requirements . . .”

These five requirements of excellence have had me pondering for a few weeks (emphasis mine):

“Let me mention five qualities that excellence, especially as it relates to our kingdom responsibilities, will always require:

Courage . . . there are many obstacles . . . such as apathy, a lack of funds, or small faith. But there are also shotgun-toting lovers of the status quo who view any disruption of their comfort zone as a personal attack . . . Many Christians have recognized the need for change in their churches, and even longed for it, but declined to pursue it because they knew it couldn’t be accomplished . . . they chose shallow harmony over effectiveness . . . Personally, I have never regretted choosing excellence over peace.

Giftedness . . . One of the greatest obstacles to excellence in the church is the mismanagement of God’s gifts. Too many people are not serving in their area of giftedness. There are three ways this can happen . . . some people have no idea what their gifts are. It might be because they’ve never thought about it. Or it might be because they’ve been lied to . . . some people know what their gifts are but they refuse to serve in that area . . . some people know what gifts they lack but insist on serving in those areas anyway . . . No one ever wants to admit that he’s not the right person for the job, but sometimes it’s the truth. Excellence requires that we serve in area where we can do the most good . . . and the least harm.

Money . . . The simple truth is that quality costs. Fact #1: Quality costs more, but generally pays for itself in the long run. Fact #2: Quality equipment and resources will be a blessing to your servants. Fact #3: High quality always makes a great first impression. Fact #4: A commitment to quality says something about your love for the Lord.

Thorough Planning and Preparation
. . . concerns about spontaneity, while sometimes legitimate, are just as often an excuse for not planning and preparing . . . God can do plenty of inspiring during the planning and preparation stage . . . whoever said that having a well-thought-out plan means you can’t deviate if the Lord does move in a mighty way . . . Nobody is good enough to wing it all the time and keep producing topflight results. You show me a person who insists upon flying by the seat of his pants in his service to the Lord and I’ll show you solid candidate for membership in the Slipshod Hall of Fame.

Perseverance . . . you will be surrounded by people who don’t see things the way you do. You’ll encounter people who have chosen mediocrity as a lifestyle. They’re comfortable in it and will resent your efforts to change things . . . your passion for excellence is going to be very difficult for them to understand . . . some people who have the best of intentions are simply blind to mediocrity . . . can look right at a slipshod, disorganized mess and not see a problem. If you start talking about changing it, they’ll give you a blank stare and say, “Why?”

Hang in there and give your service to God your best effort . . . try harder. That extra effort you give might be the difference between some lost person being drawn in or driven away.”

I can NOT do everything I want to do WELL. When I’ve tried, I’ve ended up doing things “good enough.” If you know me, you probably know what I think of “good enough.”

If I’m passionate about something, if it’s important to me, I want and need to focus my time and energy on it. I’m passionate my relationship with God. I’m passionate about caring for my family. I’m passionate about speaking and teaching. I’m passionate about singing and leading faith based music. I’m passionate about reading and learning. But. If I try to focus my time and energy on those things while simultaneously, spending my finite amount of time and energy on other things which don’t support those passions – or, in some cases, are counter-productive to those passions, I get . . . mediocrity.

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time pondering and praying about my priorities. I know what’s important to me. The difficult thing is letting go of other things, which aren’t necessarily bad, and are sometimes even good, but just don’t fit within my goals.

We have a saying in our house concerning food – a chocolate Easter bunny, a pizza, a family size bag of chips, a half gallon of ice cream . . .”You can have it all, you just can have it all AT THE SAME TIME.”

I can be involved in lots and lots of activities and services. Just not at the same time. There are seasons for things. I have to know what’s MOST important to me NOW.

I have to choose on purpose. I have to do what’s required. I have to strive to do MORE than what’s required. God deserves my best effort.

“. . . therefore I quote” Thursday: If you have a quote to share from something you’ve read recently, feel free to comment and/or include a link to your own “quote” post.

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