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Church Culture and Excellence

Some thoughts on ‘excellence‘ culture for church leader types. This notes may have more relevance to larger churches in non-liturgical traditions, but it’s something I have been thinking about for a number of years.

At Lighthouse, we cultivate a culture of non-excellence, particularly in regard to front-led performative church gatherings. While this might seem unconventional, it's remarkably liberating. Here are some thoughts about excellence and non-excellence that others may be interested in exploring.

To begin, constantly aspiring for excellence in every facet of our upfront performative services can burden staff and leaders with perpetual disappointment and unrelenting critique, fostering an atmosphere detrimental to morale and staff retention. Additionally, the relentless pursuit of excellence often demands an exhaustive investment of time in event planning, rehearsals, and reviews, using up valuable hours that could be redirected elsewhere. Eg. Pastoral care, more contact time, etc.

Furthermore, an undue emphasis on excellence in front-led performative church services can inadvertently breed a professionalism that jeopardizes authenticity. Eg. Highly scripted notices and interviews can be counter productive and hinder the development of a truly genuine and relational church culture.

Moreover, a culture fixated on excellence in front-led performative church services, with events meticulously planned- sometimes weeks in advance, may stifle adaptability when circumstances change. Overcommitting to perfection could hinder our ability to respond to current events or infuse spontaneity into our services, limiting the flexibility needed in unpredictable situations.

Lastly, while we don't emphasize excellence in every domain, we acknowledge the paramount importance of excelling in one area – the way and witness of love. Lighthouse seeks to channel its time and energy into prioritising relationship and authenticity over excellent performance, recognising these as essential to our mission.


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