Striving for Excellence

How do you define excellence? At Cross Point we define it by: Doing the best you can with what you have.

I’ve seen excellence come in all kinds of shapes and sizes.

From time to time church planters and pastors will visit Cross Point and walk away wishing they had as many volunteers as we have, or as many cool toys as we have, or as large of a staff as we have. In follow-up conversations I detect it. If we only had this or that we could do excellent ministry.

This summer while visiting our sister church in the Dominican Republic I was reminded of the excellence principle. Obviously this small Haitian church in the Dominican Republic, which is only half-way built, has few resources. But it doesn’t stop them from doing excellent ministry.

It was a big deal when we visited there earlier this summer. So big, they rolled out the red carpet. They used toilet paper to welcome us. Yes toilet paper. Now that’s excellence. Doing the best you can with what you have.

Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,”

So what’s one area of your life, business, or church where you need to pursue excellence?

17 Responses to “Striving for Excellence”

  1. I’ve striving for excellence in being a better father to my son and husband to my wife…

  2. Kath says:

    I am striving in all the areas right now. After the summer we had I have been feeling disconnected from family and friends,business and church. Hard to get back on track!!
    Trying to fit in time to be with family members when they ask instead of putting them off like I did this summer as I usually didnt even have cell tower.
    Business- striving to find the balance again with trucking and family time.
    Church- glad to feel “at home” again. Tho I love visiting other churches I really missed our church and church family.

    How did you know I’ve been feeling this way?

  3. Cyndi says:

    I don’t have an answer ( guess I need to think on that one a bit ), but I had to comment on what you said about working with what you have. My husband and I just recently went through a process where he was being considered for pastor at a large church and a small church ( we ended up at the small church ). The larger church was our home church and many times we thought what it would be like to implement some changes (always thinking along the lines of the resources that would be available to us). One morning while sitting in the smaller church I realized that many of the things we talked about for the larger church were already being implemented in the smaller church (just on a smaller scale)! And they were been done with excellence. Last night the smaller church voted my husband in as pastor. Our prayers were being answered (just not in the way we expected). It will be very interesting to see how God works through this small church with limited resources for his glory. I have the feeling it will be more then we could ever have imagined if we had been in charge (lol).

  4. Diane Moody says:

    Pete, I must admit I got tears in my eyes seeing these pictures and reading of your welcome party in the Dominican. How precious is that? And what a profound lesson to us that bigger & wealthier isn’t necessarily better. It is indeed a matter of the heart.

  5. Jeff Goins says:

    Awesome picture blog, man.

    In my opinion and experience, excellence is doing your best even when your “good” would have been acceptable. That’s my struggle – not settling with innate talents, but always pushing the envelop for God’s glory, not human favor.

    Personally, excellence for me means showing integrity – being where I say I’m going to be when I say I’m going to be there. It means being a man of my word, which is kind of tough for me sometimes.

    Lastly, it’s taking responsibility when it’d be easier to blame shift. Sometimes, excellence means admitting how un-excellent I am and making a conscious effort to improve.

  6. Joseph says:

    OK Pete. One of my favorite posts to date.

    I find when I strive for excellence in my relationships, I thrive in all other areas.

    Right now, I am striving for excellence in a mentoring environment. I would like a strong mentor to advance me in my faith journey and business journey as well as be a mentor for someone who views me as the next step.

  7. Lisa says:

    In my family, to try as hard or harder for excellence with them as I do with others that I feel “expect” me to. A little story: When our 27-yr old daughter was 9 years old, I was washing the car and she wanted to help. I gave her a bucket and sponge and asked her to wash the tires. About an hour and a half later she was still scrubbing with all her heart the same tire–the rubber part. I told her she could move on to another, that when I backed the car up all the rubber would be getting dirty. She went to a Christian school, where they taught a new Scripture each week. She quietly said as I passed by her, “The Bible says to do everything as unto God, Mom.” I stopped in my tracks, turned and said, “What did you just say?” She repeated it, and I was quieted and humbled! I learned from my child that day! She taught me! How precious!

  8. hernseugene says:

    Shout out to Pastor Pete!!!! Representing for my Haitian peeps!!!

  9. sara says:

    Here’s the part of this post that I needed to hear… they used the toilet paper and I’m sure were happy with it and proud of it, not apologetic for what they didn’t have but celebratory in what they did.

    I need to be reminded of that sometimes. I can’t do or give what I used to and sometimes, even though I’m giving my best I find myself apologizing that it’s not more. It’s because I know what others are capable of or what I used to be capable of and my best now doesn’t match up with my best then.

    I know when I apologize for my excellence not being excellent enough it’s the same as not being grateful for the amazing blessings I have… but sometimes I need the reminder. Thanks for that today.

    sara
    http://gitzengirl.blogspot.com

  10. Dave Myers says:

    Sometimes of the smallest churches with the fewest resources can bring about the most change in people’s lives. My Mother and Father go to a tiny Baptist Church in rural NC, but what the Lord has done with them is inspiring and uplifting. You have heard me say many times that I hope to be half the man my Father is, and a lot of that is the result of what I have seen in his spiritual life. Calvary Baptist Church is a complete 180 from Cross Point (in more ways than one), but when you go there, you feel the spirit of the Lord just as much as you do at our church.

  11. mysoul says:

    Excellence to me is doing something with all of your being, mindfully in the present, no yesterday, no tomorrow. Completely focussed on doing the best you could under the circumstances without the expectation of rewards, results, recognition…You did it cause you could.

    I have a lot of places where I need to cultivate mindfulness.

  12. Carrie says:

    Cool post Pete! The toilet paper thing reminds me of the church I visit in Guatemala. They don’t have fancy things, but different families bring flowers each week to decorate the church. It may not seem like much, but the flowers are beautiful, and I know it is a big sacrifice for some of the families. I call that excellence.

  13. Cheri Pryor says:

    I strive to fit church/bible study in to a VERY difficult work schedule. I work shift work, rotating between days and nights…12 hour shifts. I cannot commit to anything that is weekly. It’s lacking in my life and I’m feeling its absence…*sigh*

    I also need to strive for excellence in my laundry room. But that’s a different subject. lol!

  14. Great post, Pete. I love your Cross Point definition of excellence. It reminds me of my dad’s final legacy to me as he was dying of cancer 4 years ago.

    “Do the best you can with the information you have at the time…” he said in his husky voice destroyed by his treatments. He was speaking to my husband and me as we prepared to take over running and (someday) liquidating his businesses, as well as taking over primary care of my mom — suffering from very early alzheimer’s. Those words have liberated us from paralyzing fear that we might do the “wrong” thing. Whatever we do, it’s the best we can do with the information we have.

    Thank you for reminding me of those precious minutes with my dad at a moment in time when I needed to go back to basics.

  15. jenn3 says:

    What a great way to look at things. I go to a small church and sometimes I see the things that the large churches are able to do and I wish we could do the same. Honestly, in our small town, I don’t think we could have a huge church. We can probably do more to reach this town, with a small church, than with a big one. Thanks for the reminder.

  16. janowen says:

    I sometimes struggle most when people complain maybe about this or that and I think -”Well if we had money we could replace lighting and get newer projectors or whatever”. I’ve realized the presence of God is obviously not about the externals. I tend to be an overachiever so I strive TOO much and am satisfied too little. I need to learn to be happy where I am with what I have and do the best with that and rejoice in THAT provision of God.

    sometimes more stuff just complicates the heart issues….

  17. I’ve always felt myself to be a creative person. I always pursue excellence in what I do musically or technically. But God has been reminding me more and more to pursue excellence in relationships. It’s not about making them perfect, it’s about engaging in them. Living life together. That’s where I am working to pursue excellence.

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