Excellence in Ministry





People who have become excellent have several distinguishing qualities.  Here are ten observations that will help you become excellent at what you do, along with several challenging reflection questions to help you become excellent.  Full article can be viewed and printed with Word or PDF formats at the links located at the bottom of this page.

1. People of excellence are honest about where they are, then they raise the bar.

Excellence does not suggest that you are the smartest and wisest on the

earth. Excellence means you understand your current position in life and you seek to raise it to another level. People of excellence understand their personal strengths and weaknesses, and work hard to make themselves better at what they do.


Reflection:  Do you work hard to constantly improve yourself?


2. People of excellence perceive average and stagnation as enemies.

A person seeking to be excellent does not tolerate average. Stagnation,

mediocrity, ordinary, and complacency do not reside in the vocabulary of excellent people.  These words are enemies.  Excellent people lose sleep when their performance is mediocre or below standard. 


How do you feel after a late or mediocre delivery of your service?


Reflection:  Do you find ways to improve your next opportunity or simply accept complacency?


3. People of excellence understand the potential threats to their excellence.

Professional athletes understand they simply cannot gorge on hamburgers, hot dogs and potato chips if they want to perform at an optimum level. An

undisciplined life destroys fulfillment of their dreams.  There are spiritual, political, social, physical and mental threats that can hamper your daily success. A person of excellence is always prepared and recognizes potential

threats before they can cause any damage to him/her. 


Let’s examine a few things we can do to ensure the threats do not overtake us:


  • Rise early and start the day off right:  Spend time in the morning by yourself preparing your attitude for the day. As a leader, you need to understand that your mood affects the mood of everyone around you.
  • Always do the right thing:  Everyone is constantly faced with integrity issues.  Perhaps adding a little more to your expense report or telling a small lie can make things a little easier.  But small fire can lead to catastrophe.
  • Watch and pray:  One well-known preacher says that every day he reads the Bible and the newspaper because he wants to know what both sides are doing.  You need to have your finger on the pulse of your neighborhood, community, nation, and world.


Reflection:  What threatens your excellence?  i.e. Overeating, lack of exercise, lack of knowledge?


4. People of excellence realize they cannot be perfect, but can come close.

We know that there was only one perfect man who lived on the earth, that was Jesus Christ. He was perfect because he never sinned and completely

obeyed God with his life.  However, you and I were born in sin (Psalms 51:5, therefore we make mistakes through our imperfections.


Perfection should never be the goal of any person.  However excellent people realize when mistakes are made, they ensure that they do not repeat the same mistakes. 


There are two benefits of making mistakes:  a) you learn what doesn’t work, and b) you give yourself an opportunity to try a new approach.


Reflection:  What have you learned from past mistakes?


5. People of excellence excel from year to year.

To excel means to leap from one level to another level.  Excellent people never let their success stagnate their education and professional growth.  They constantly attend seminars, reads books, and studies in their profession like a college student preparing for a final exam.  Each year, their expertise becomes more in demand because of their commitment to excellence. 


Reflection:  What have you learned this year that you did not know or understand last year? 


6. People of excellence constantly work on themselves.

If you are not satisfied with your job or career, the best way to change is to work on yourself. Excellent people don’t settle for excuses for why they are not excelling. They constantly work on themselves. The work never stops. If they are overweight, they work on it. If they need to make more money, they work on it. Excellent people do not wait for someone to motivate them to action. Their motivation is internal.


Reflection:  Do you understand your personal motivations?  What are they?


7. People of excellence dress above their environment.

You can notice a person striving for excellence, because of the way they dress.  They do not necessarily wear the finest labels or the most expensive suits, but the clothes they do wear are not tattered.  If they have to wear a uniform, it is pressed.  If they have to wear a suit, their shoes are polished and their shirt is clean.  Their clothes fit.  It is not the actual clothes, but the way they wear their clothes, which allows them to be noticed above everyone else, even if everyone is wearing the same thing.


Reflection:  What can you do to improve your personal dress code?


8. People of excellence expect excellence.

God is an excellent God. Heaven is excellent. The earth is excellent. Everything God made is excellent. God expects and deserves excellence from His people.


Reflection:  Do you expect excellence from your members or do you do you accept mediocrity? 


9. People of excellence are influential.

Who are the people around you who are getting the promotions? Who are the people whose advice always seems to be in demand? Whether you like them or not, they have the power to influence the way other people think. Of

course there are class clowns who obtain a degree of influence.  That’s not what I am talking about.  Class clowns can be funny, but are never taken seriously.  People of excellence leave a lasting mark on people and organizations. 


Reflection:  Are you a person of influence?  If not, what are several things you can do to become a person of influence?


1. ____________________
2. ____________________
3. ____________________


10. People of excellence are attracted to excellence.

I noticed in high school and in college that people of common personalities and interests flocked together.  The cool guys hung around together, the computer “nerds” gathered together, the beautiful people grouped together.  However, there were always certain students who were committed to excellence in education.  These students say “no” to parties and stay up late to work on term papers or other homework.  Their commitment to excellence then has caused many of them to become today’s leaders. 


Where to Begin


In our pursuit to become excellent and get unstuck from the dead-end jobs, financial pressures, and mediocre living, let’s determine what we need to do immediately to be a person of excellence.  Remember that excellence doesn’t mean that you are perfect; it means being the very best that you can be. 


  1.  Improve everything that is not excellent:  Work on you.  Stand in the mirror and take an honest to goodness check up on you.


  1.  Challenge the status quo in your life:  Words like comfortable, average, and mediocre are enemies to excellence.


  1.  Get rid of bad habits:  You may say, “But I do not smoke, drink, or gamble.”  Perhaps not, but do you eat more than you should? Do you watch more television than your share?


  1. Develop new relationships:  The next person you meet could be an important relationship.  You should seek out relationships that help you excel to the next level in a certain area of your life. 


  1. Expand your knowledge base:  Knowledge is power.  Without it, you are powerless.


  1. Create a mission statement:  A mission statement defines your reason for being.  It reflects your ideals, vision, and dream.


  1. Develop a long-term strategy:  As you grow, you may notice that you get so wrapped up in the day-to-day concerns that you stop planning for the future.  Excellence demands preparation.


  1. Conduct a person survey:  Get in the habit of surveying your parishioners.  This is a sure-fire way to get better at what you do. 


A Few Excellent Thoughts to Help You “Stand Out”


Here are a few thoughts to help you create an excellent spirit.  Apply the following lists to your daily tasks.  This checklist will help separate you from those who just want to get by.  People who are stuck in life do the exact opposite of the guidelines listed here.


I suggest that you copy this list and put in a prominent place where you will see it often. 



  • Don not accept mediocrity!
  • Make people feel important.
  • A negative attitude cancels out all positive skills.
  • Remember that little things make a big difference.
  • Tell people how much you appreciate them.
  • Underpromise. Overperform.
  • Never be too busy to work hard.
  • Grade yourself after every performance or work day.
  • Always be honest with yourself.
  • People will pay more for excellent.
  • Stay away from people with bad attitudes.
  • Emulate people of excellence.
  • Image is reality.
  • First impressions are lasting.
  • Expect excellence from yourself and others.
  • Don’t just talk about it, do it!
  • When a mistake is made, correct it immediately.
  • Read, study, listen, and then communicate.
  • Do the simple things in an excellent way.
  • Excellence is not an option.
  • Be excellent at all times. Everyone is watching.


The above listed phrases sound simple, but if you meditate on them and apply them to your daily tasks, excellence is headed your way!


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