I’ve posted several times about why this word “excellence” makes me cringe. I feel like so often it’s wielded almost like a weapon that the gatekeepers use to keep people out and I hate that. I feel it has little to no place in the church of Jesus Christ. How to people become excellent without support and encouragement and what is excellence really? I’m of the belief that excellence is the best I can do today and that if I am encouraged to reach that level of excellence (the only one I can) every day, the level of excellence will rise.
I’m sure some will cringe at this statement. They picture a world where the church is buried in substandard stuff, and artists with a “good enough for church” attitude. That is totally not what I am saying. I heard the most fantastic analogy of this yesterday from my friend and District Executive Craig Smith. While he related it to faith, it applies to creative enterprise as well. Imagine a child just learning to walk. Walking is the standard and the only acceptable objective. When the child takes a few steps and falls, we do not berate him, rather we kneel down and encourage him to get up and keep moving forward. This is how to get excellence out of people, and there is no other way, at least not one acceptable in the Kingdom.
So here’s what we need to do, ditch the world’s view of excellence and adopt the attitude of excellence by encouragement, and while we’re at it church, let’s become excellent encouragers, spurring one another on to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24). Let’s provide venues where people can learn and grow. Let’s provide safe places to fail and encouragements to get up and proceed.
Proverbs 22:29 says, “Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings.” In the arts we get skilled, we become excellent, by trial and error and trying again. There is no other way in the creative realm. Creativity requires experimentation and experimentation has within it a high possibility of failure. It’s imperative that creatives work each day at becoming excellent, and we need the support of others along the way.