There is a very interesting conversation about using 2.0 media to enhance church community at my friend Jon’s blog.  Go there after you’ve read this.

In the discussion the question was raised about slickness vs. production quality vs. performance vs. whole-heartedness vs. excellence.  I mentioned that a worship celebration has nothing to do with performance and everything to do with whole-hearted sacrifice of praise.  Jon then made the statement that it isn’t about performance but about excellence.

I’ve always had a problem with the word “excellence” and the church’s call to it.  To my understanding (which I grant may be deeply flawed and influenced by unreasonable emotion), excellence is just another word for performance. 

Let me explain: 

I can sing a bit.  Although I am not volunteering for the part, I can, just barely, imagine a scenario in which God might call me to sing a solo up front.  And if He did, I would do it.  I would work hard and give it my best.  But I don’t think it would be excellent by anyone’s definition.  But I could be whole-hearted.  And it could bless someone.  And it might be just what God wants it to be.

My friend Laurie is a gifted musician and vocalist.  She is often called upon to sing up front and it is nearly always excellent.  But, I believe because she has great talent that she is capable of excellence without whole-heartedness (not that I am accusing her of any such thing). 

I was an excellent student.  I graduated with a 3.99 (out of 4) grade point average – that’s two B’s in four years.  In college I was never off the dean’s list.  But, in the main, it cost me very little effort.  I was rarely whole hearted in my work. 

When I hear a call to excellence, it defeats me.  By whose standard are we measuring this arbitrary excellence?  Yours?  Mine?  God’s?  The American public’s?  In any case, I can so very rarely acheive it, why bother getting started.

But whole-heartedness is another story.  I AM capable of giving my best, giving my all and relying on God to bless the outcome or not as He sees fit.

So I propose we stop calling each other to the legalism of excellence and start exhorting one another to whole-hearted service in all that we do.