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hope for churches in stress


In her book Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg has popularized the Facebook motto: “Done is better than perfect.” At times this maxim can be a useful corrective for the Church.

In our consumer culture, there is a push for excellence in the Church. To attract people, this thinking goes, a church must be exceptional in preaching, music, children’s and youth ministries, and mission endeavors—all the things that people want.

This may be fine for churches with extensive resources. But in other churches the pursuit of excellence can degenerate into debilitating dissatisfaction. It can lure pastors to compound the distress by getting personally involved in too many tasks.

Without discounting the value of excellence, it may be better for some churches to adopt the more modest maxim: done (by whoever is available and teachable) is better than perfect.

This will mean taking risks with less-than-excellent workers. It will require gentle instruction and encouragement. There will be mistakes and mess-ups. And some will grumble and complain.

Others, wiser in the ways of Jesus, will respond with patience and forbearance. They will recognize opportunities to supplement their faith with virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love (2 Pet. 2:5-8).

The resulting atmosphere of faith, hope, and love will have far greater appeal than mere human excellence. Such a church (of any size) will exude “the aroma of Christ” to those who are being saved, a fragrance from life to life (2 Cor. 2:14-16).

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