Earlier in the year I shared from Paul Tripp with the (surprisingly controversial) statement: 'Glory propels excellence'. I found myself going into bat for Tripp, and I'm pleased that he has articulated this further in a new article on the Gospel Coalition's website. Tripp begins with strong words:
"We should all be shocked at the level of mediocrity we tolerate in the life and ministry of the local church. No, I'm not talking about giving people room to grow and mature so we don't crush them with criticism. I'm talking about those places where our standards are simply too low. Mediocrity is not a time, personnel, resource, or location problem. Mediocrity is a heart problem. We have lost our commitment to the highest levels of excellence because we have lost our awe. Awe amnesia is the open door that permits mediocrity in."
Excellence isn't about expense, it's about commitment:
"I'm not talking about lavish, expensively furnished buildings. I'm talking about a sturdy commitment to do everything you can to display the glory of his presence and grace as powerfully and clearly as you can each time his people gather."
Here's the big point. Excellence is about being in awe of the most excellent God, and wanting to display this excellence to the world:
"When I am in awe at the reality that I have, by grace alone, been attached to what is truly excellent in every way, I want to be an ambassador of that excellence. So I will have high standards for every aspect of ministry under my care. Whether it is the children's or youth ministries, men's or women's ministries, small groups or outreach, leadership training or short-term missions, public worship or preaching, I will want all ministries of the church to faithfully display the excellence of the one who calls out of darkness into his marvelous light."
Tripp goes on to explain what the pursuit of excellence looks like. Read it.