Excellence: Is It Really All in the Details?

Churches get rated by people looking in whether they intend to be or not. What makes some churches seem more excellent than others?


Is it really all their attention to the details? Or, is there more to it than the details?

Pay Attention to the Details:

In almost every ministry there are details to tend to that communicate a message to people about their importance to you and/or how much you expect them to value what is about to happen. Lack of attention to details could lead to a negative impression whereas excellence in quality and preparedness could stir up a good feeling leading to greater receptivity.

In Teaching: pencils sharpened, extra Bibles on hand, projector ready, chairs arranged, neat & legible visuals, lesson well prepared

In Church Communications: well-designed & regularly updated church website, quality PowerPoint presentations, well-crafted written communication and promotional materials

In People Helping Ministry: food/clothes bank cleaned & stocked, emergency supplies ready for crisis, referral list previously prepared, people on call for counseling, support, or meeting of a variety of needs

In Worship:  worship leaders and team are well rehearsed, projected words to songs and Scripture are well-designed, printed materials lack typographical errors, the order of the service flows, attention was put into lighting, sound, and other technological issues

When you don’t concern yourself with excellence by paying attention to details, you will be scrambling to set things up, taking too long to get back to people about how you can help, making excuses for why things aren’t going well, and the like, which negatively impacts ministry.

Pay Attention to the Big Picture:

While details are important, so is the big picture. When it comes to excellence, God expects you to do the best with what you have, to work within the means and abilities He has provided for you. The bigger picture also communicates.

For the sake of excellence would God really want you to go into such debt for those facilities, high tech equipment, lighting, etc., that you have little or no resources for other kinds of ministry? What about the bigger picture of stewardship? It’s a matter of maintaining a consistent testimony.

For the sake of excellence would God really want you to be so busy making things just right that you neglect other priorities like time with Him, family, and friends? What about the bigger picture of relationships? It’s a matter of attaining to higher principles, that of love for God and people.

For the sake of excellence would God really want you to get so stressed that you worry, fret, and obsess? What about the bigger picture of trusting God to be the real power source for ministry, not your efforts? It’s a matter of sustaining a proper perspective.

Pay Attention to Both the Details and the Big Picture:

Glorify God in all you do (Col. 3:17; 1 Cor. 3:12-15; 10:31). Details do matter, sending a message to the people you serve. But, if you aren’t careful, that same excellence could be communicating an even bigger message that could undo the effects of all your attention to detail.

Know your God-given parameters, realizing there may be times He will want you to step outside of them, but being sure He is the One doing the prompting and not you. Be willing to say “Enough” when the costs soar too high, when your schedule is too full, and when your trust is more in what you are doing than in the Lord.

5 thoughts on “Excellence: Is It Really All in the Details?

    • That’s a great illustration. Thanks, Bill. Obviously Jesus wasn’t saying details aren’t important but that there is a time to let them go and do that which is most important.

  1. Oh, it wasn’t Martha’s attention to detail that was her problem, it was her jealousy and condition of her heart towards Mary getting the attention by serving her Master, one-on-one. The same goes within ministry in the body of believers. There’s a great teaching on this in 1 Corinthians 12:12, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.” Those who volunteer to help the cars enter the church parking lot for right parking are as important as those ministering in the youth ministry, alter call counseling, greeters, ushers, etc.. None of us are more important that the other… a lesson learned is a lesson applied in the ministry.

  2. Looking at Luke 10:40 isn’t it possible multiple issues could have been going on with Martha? — “But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!'” In the first part of that verse she is “distracted by all the preparations” … attention to details. Jesus even confronted her about being “worried and upset about many things” and then went on to point her focus to what is most important. Then in the second part of verse 40, Martha’s comments do seem to suggest some jealousy. Why should Mary get to sit at Jesus’ feet while she was busy preparing? Certainly Jesus wasn’t minimizing the way Martha was serving. And, as Winston pointed out, neither should we minimize what anybody does in serving the Lord. Indeed, all are needed and all are important. And we all also need to learn when it is time to sit at the Lord’s feet.

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