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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

25 Aug '13

The difference between excellence and perfectionism in ministry

Posted by T.J. Addington in excellence, perfectionism
Have you ever considered the difference between excellence and perfectionism? There is one: a big one.

Excellence in ministry is something which we owe God. He is worthy of our very best and how we carry out our ministries is a reflection of Him. This applies to our ethics, our integrity, our truthfulness and our programming - it applies to all that we put our hands to. In fact, if a ministry cannot be done with excellence I question whether God is calling us to do it. Doing ministry with excellence is focusing on Him and wanting to throw a spotlight on Him.

But then there is perfectionism. Consider Wikipedia's definition of the word. "Perfectionism is a personality trait characterized by a person's striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high performance standards accompanied by overly critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding other's evaluations."

Everything about that definition screams that it is about me, not about God. It is wanting to look good, please others, live up to my own of others (perceived) standards and in the end to throw a spotlight on me rather than on God. That is why Christian leaders who demand perfectionism often show anger when something is not done to their standards. The anger comes from the fact that they (not God) have been let down. They have a need to look good and when it does not happen they show it.

When we demand perfection in ministry (an unattainable goal) who are we trying to spotlight? Excellence spotlights God. Perfectionism spotlights us. Something to consider.