By Rick Warren
God is more concerned with your progress than your perfect performance. The very nature of discipleship is progressive. God’s purpose is that you become more and more like His Son, Jesus, and He will use your entire life to work that process out.
As ministry leaders, we are not exceptions. We are examples. If we aren’t growing and challenging ourselves to move to the next level, personally and professionally, we can’t lead a congregation or a team to do so.
Excellence, in and of itself, isn’t a core value at our church. We’d rather launch things imperfectly than wait for perfect conditions, which never really arrive. Having said that, excelling or growing and improving is another matter.
While we don’t have to have reached perfection to serve God, we must be willing to grow. Some pastors and leaders excel and grow, while others don’t. What makes the difference? The Bible mentions at least five factors that cause us to excel…
1. People who excel work with enthusiasm. Emerson once said “Nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm.” Regardless of whether the job is big or small, give it your best. Great performers give their best effort, no matter what the size of the audience. The Bible says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” (Col. 3:23).
2. People who excel sharpen their skills. They never stop developing, growing, learning or improving. Eccl. 10:10 says, “If the ax is dull, and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.” It takes more than desire to excel; it takes skill. Remember—you’re never wasting time when you are sharpening your “ax”.
3. People who excel keep their word. They are reliable. They can be counted on to do what they say they’ll do. So they excel because people of integrity are rare in our society. “Everyone talks about how loyal and faithful he is, but just try to find someone who really is!” (Prov. 20:6, GNT) Reliability trumps talent in the long run every time.
4. People who excel maintain a positive attitude. Even under pressure or change or unrealistic demands, they don’t allow themselves to become negative. Complainers never excel at anything except complaining. “Do everything without grumbling or arguing … then you will shine among them like stars in the sky” (Phil. 2:14-15). And remember “If the boss is angry with you, don’t quit! A quiet spirit will quiet his bad temper!” (Eccl. 10:4 TLB)
5. People who excel do more than is expected. This is a secret that every successful leader has discovered. You’ll never excel by only doing what is required—the bare minimum. Jesus said, “If anybody forces you to go a mile with him, do more, go two miles with him” (Matt. 5:41, Ph).
Oscar Hammerstein told that story of seeing the top of the head of the Statue of Liberty up close from a helicopter. What impressed him was the incredible detail the artist had sculpted on an area of the statue that the artist never expected anyone to see. The artist had no idea man would someday fly above his statue.
When you are tempted to cut corners and think, “No one will ever know,” remember God is looking down and sees everything you do. Give it your best this week!
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America’s largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century.
The above article, “5 Way to Excel in Your Ministry and Leadership” is written by Rick Warren. The article was excerpted from: www.pastors.com web site. October 2014.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.
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