March 22, 2013


Excellence. It’s not an arbitrary thing. Many people use this word like Bill and Ted did [in "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure,"] much like some people today, especially youth, use the word ‘epic.’ Maybe the bar has been lowered, therefore ‘really good’ is equated with ‘excellent.’ Perhaps I’m getting caught up in semantics, but here’s what I’ve learned: 

  • You can have a ‘good’ ministry by accident. 
  • You can have a ‘really good’ ministry by accident. 
  • But excellence is NEVER an accident. 

Excellent ministries are only achieved with the following 3 things:

1. Intention – You gotta want it. You gotta strive for it. Those who assume their ministries are already awesome are kind of missing the point. There is always room for growth and improvement. So unless there has been a conscious decision to say, “this is who we are and where we are,” then the question of where we want to go is sort of irrelevant.

2. Strategy – Strategy is a plan. And plans are a piece of an overall design to create what it is you intend to build. In other words, if intention is behind figuring out who and where we are, strategy helps determine what needs to be done to get from here to there.

Unless the proper systems and structure are in place, the highest you’ll get is “really good.“

Here’s why: If one ministry doing a “really good” job simply by depending on the gifts, personalities, or learned skills of those running the ministry, the ministry down the road with the same gifts, personalities, and skills can and will surpass you if they are intentional and strategic.
Intention and strategy are things that anyone can bring to the table. And I promise, add intention and strategy, and greater results will be achieved. 

In order to achieve excellence, though, one more thing must be present:

3. Alchemy – In other words, you gotta get the right people on the bus. Your team must be comprised of the right people, with the right skills, and the right talent. Excellent ministries have the right people in all areas (program staff, volunteer staff, and even student leadership). Everyone has the right attitude and they keep their eyes on the prize. They also practice balance, so they are investing in themselves as much as they are pouring into their ministry. Healthy people understand that they can’t give what they don’t have, so they are intentional about protecting their personal time with God and family.

In what ways are you intentional about your ministry? What strategies are you using to take it to the next level? What is difficult about creating the right Alchemy? I’d love to hear your thoughts about achieving excellence or ways your actually doing it.

This post originally appeared on Melissa's Moving the Spirit blog and is reprinted by permission.