I follow a number of Facebook groups for various church teams to discover what people want to learn more about; this helps me find the right topics for CFX, which then helps me find the right speakers and writers to share their wisdom and knowledge with you. I enjoy scrolling through the questions in these groups and seeing the community of people answering questions to help each other out. Nobody is trying to one-up anyone else; it’s about helping people grow.
However, the other day, I read a post about someone who said their church had a very simple live streaming system, and he thought it was unwise to have a lot of equipment and software like some other churches have. He didn’t think it was necessary because what they had was “good enough.” A number of people commented on it, agreeing with the sentiment because their simple systems were all working for them as well.
At first, I also agreed. After all, I know how challenging it can be for a lot of smaller churches to find the equipment, volunteers and other needed resources to do what the bigger churches do. And I agree that there’s no need to go all out to the level that those churches do if your community and congregation don’t respond to those levels. Each church should discover what works for their own congregation to be able to worship. That shows that they want to provide what people are looking for. Sometimes, a very simple setup is perfect.
However, the more I thought about, the more I realized I very much disagree with the overall sentiment of the phrase, “good enough.” Why should we ever allow that statement to be the deciding factor in how we present the gospel?
What Does the Bible Say?
Let’s look at Daniel. He was in a foreign country, forced to serve a king who didn’t follow God’s ways. However, in everything he did, he did it with excellence. Why? Because it mattered more to him to honor God through his actions and his work than it did to settle for something less. As a result, people noticed him and he was able to use this as a testimony to share with others who this God was that he served (see Daniel chapters 2, 4, & 5).
Paul also encourages us to do our best, not for men’s praise, but as an act of worship to the LORD (see Colossians 3:23-24). When we strive for excellence in everything we do, we show God that we can use the gifts and talents and abilities that He’s gifted us in order to bring glory back to Him.
I’ve often thought that as Christians, we should be the innovators of the world, the ones showing the world how things should be done with excellence. What better way to give God glory and tell others about Him than by leading the world to be the best for the right reasons? Not for power or notoriety, but to exemplify the blessings and gifts God has given each one of us. “Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men” (Proverbs 22:29 ESV).
What Does This Look Like in Our Churches?
Back to the “good enough” statement. With all of this floating around in my head, I don’t think we should ever be satisfied with “good enough” in our ministries, at least not for long periods of time. Yes, there is a time to allow “good enough” to be acceptable—for a time. But why stay there? Here are some possible reasons why churches don’t aim for excellence.
Perhaps people or time is not a resource that’s available to make it excellent.
Many churches don’t have enough people to do all the work, which means there’s never enough time to get all the things done. When this is the case, very little gets done with excellence because there’s too much pressure to make all the other things happen. I’ve experienced this myself, and I know it’s a big challenge.
Perhaps there’s not enough in the budget to acquire the proper equipment or training needed to take it to the next level.
Finances are the bane of many ministries because there rarely seems to be enough. The right equipment for the job might just be too expensive for the funds available, and convincing the congregation and leadership that more funds are needed seems an impossible task. Believe me; I’ve been here before. I know this is a real thing.
Perhaps your congregation is okay with “good enough.”
Most people are content with how things have always been, so the need to improve things seems irresponsible and foolish. This leads to the thinking that if it’s still good enough for us, it’s good enough for everyone. Unfortunately, this usually means that the congregation will likely get smaller and smaller until there are very few people left because no one who is new to the church is likely to stick around. Again, I’ve witnessed this as well.
Perhaps the leadership in the church thinks “good enough” equals “being good stewards.”
When did being a good steward of the money and resources your church is responsible for start meaning that you need to purchase the cheapest things and use the most volunteer help possible instead of hiring professionals? Just because someone once plugged in a lighting fixture in a theatre, that doesn’t mean that person can give professional advice on the lighting system that will best suit your church. This kind of thinking just leads to equipment breaking down sooner than it should because the wrong equipment was purchased, or it never really fulfilled the vision that prompted the purchase, or the volunteers burn out and leave the church (potentially unwilling to trust another church ever again). Yes, I’ve seen all of this happen before, too.
What are the Effects of the “Good Enough” Mentality?
How does the rest of your community view this perspective of “good enough”? Are they going to be drawn to the message you’re proclaiming if the world is giving them excellence in entertainment that draws them away from your “good enough” church service? Will people want to volunteer for ministries if they see people being overworked and under-resourced? Will the world ever think the Church is worth looking into more if everything is subpar and the staff is haggard? Is God receiving the glory due Him if we stay stuck in our “good enough” church?
I’m not saying you need to do what the megachurches are doing. That’s not what everyone wants. But everyone does want to be able to enjoy a worship service and a church that doesn’t allow old systems and equipment to distract them from the message. We owe it to give God our best through our worship services, our tech teams, our facility management, our volunteer training and health, and our caring for our leaders and congregations. Let’s never let ourselves stay stuck at “good enough.”