Gary Trobee

Ministry Leadership Coach

Excellence

A Different Perspective on Excellence.

By on November 13, 2012

I ran across this quote from Rev. Thomas Fuller from the 17th century and thought I would add this for context when talking about excellence. I’ve spoken here before of my definition of excellence which is: To offer the best I have, something above and beyond or different from the norm. Something costly.

Please consider this as an example:

Lord, my voice is by nature harsh and untunable, and it is vain to lavish any art to better it. Can my singing of psalms be pleasing to thy ears, which is unpleasant to my own? Yet though I cannot chant with the nightingale, or chirp with the blackbird, I had rather chatter with the swallow, yea, rather croak with the raven, than be altogether silent. Hadst though given me a better voice, I would have praised thee with a better voice. Now what my music wants in sweetness, let it have in sense, singing praises with understanding. Yea, Lord, create in me a new heart (therein to make melody), and I will be contented with my old voice, until in thy due time, being admitted into the choir of heaven, I have another more harmonious bestowed upon me.

Granted if his voice is harsh and untunable we probably don’t want him “leading” worship but I hope this provides a little balance to the Excellence conversation.

What are your thoughts?

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Is Excellence Perfection?

By on March 3, 2010

Excellence is a word we like to throw around especially in Christian circles. My sons old school used it so much it almost had no meaning. It’s not quite as bad as “Awesome” or “Incredible” but almost.

What does is mean? In regard to performance, our effort, our offering, our worship.

We can look at Hillsong, New Life, Willow Creek, or Mars Hill and say it’s easy for them to offer excellence look what they have. But how can I offer excellence when all I have is an old church piano player and a 13 year old drummer?

Is it possible we have incorrectly linked excellence with perfection?

The dictionary defines “Excellence” as:

“The quality of being outstanding or extremely good”

So far so good but what is the standard by which we determine what is “outstanding” or “extremely good”? Is it Darlene Zschesch, Ross Parsley, Chris Tomlin, or is it the music teacher at the high school?

The dictionary defines “Perfection” as:

“the condition, state, or quality of being free from all flaws or defects”

Is that something we can offer? Do we have within our capacity or control to bring an offering free from “all flaws or defects”?

Vines Concise Dictionary of the Bible gives definitions for each usage of “excellence” here are the key words:

Over and above, The surpassing thing, To differ, A throwing beyond, The act of overhanging or the thing which overhangs, More, Greater, Superior by reason of inward worth, Mightiest, Noblest, Best.

When we talk, or think, about worship the word that is coupled with worship most often is “sacrifice” or “offering”. There are 5 different types of offerings in Leviticus.

Burnt offering, Leviticus 1:3
To show worship, devotion, and ask for forgiveness
Grain offering, Leviticus 2:1
To give thanks and recognize God as the giver of blessing and provider of good things
Peace offering, Leviticus 3:1
To ask God for blessing
Sin offering, Leviticus 4:1-2
To ask forgiveness for a specific unintentional sin or to become clean after becoming unclean
Guilt offering, Leviticus 5:15, 17-18
To make up for cheating, robbing, or destroying anything belonging to the Lord or to the people

These are all things we do, in whole or in part, when we come to worship. All of these require a sacrifice. All of them except the grain offering require an animal from the herd “without blemish”. The grain offering requires “fine flour”.

“Without blemish” can literally be translated “possessing integrity or truth”. Integrity is “the state of being whole or undivided”.

Consider King David in 1 Chronicles 21. Ornan was willing to give everything for the offering even the animals for the burnt offering. But David’s reply should cause us to stop and think, verse 24:

“I will not take what is yours for the Lord, or offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing”

Excellence then is:

“to offer the best I have, something above and beyond or different from the norm, something costly”

What are your thoughts? What am I missing?

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When I grow up I want to play like Phil.

By on October 29, 2009

and have an Olson guitar:

This is excellence personified. Look how much fun he is having.

Speechless.

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