The values of an organization are the traits and beliefs that make it what it is. At Mercy Hill the values for our staff team are communicated in tensions because any value in isolation can be destructive. For example, independence is a good thing unless you are so independent that you can’t work on a team. Every value then needs a counterpart and every staff member needs to hold the tension.
Tension 1: Committed to excellence and dependent on God.
The definition of excellence is “the quality of being very good”. In my opinion, the definition is unhelpful. Excellence is the value of being very good at what? Or better, what does being good actually look like? Excellence then is something that is hard to define but easy to describe. You know it when you see it.
Here is a good example. I went to fill up my coffee cup at a restaurant the other day and the coffee was out. Before I had the chance to turn around and ask someone, an assistant manager that was on break jumped up, took my cup, walked into the back to fill it up, and then returned it. He then apologized for the inconvenience and went back to taking his break. Now, admittedly things would have been better had the coffee pot stayed full in the first place! But the response of the staff team at this restaurant was incredible. My point is, excellence is hard to define but easy to see. It is hard to bottle whatever it is that makes someone stop their break, feel the burden of the problem, desire to resolve it quickly, and then apologize. But whatever that is, we want it to be a strong value for us.
Excellence is the “it” factor. It means the website stays totally current, the band doesn’t need music stands, every event stays above minimum standards in the way signage looks, having full kids ministry at every service without exception, social media staying active, the pastor staying within his allotted time to preach, and a million other examples I could point to. Excellence is sharpness. Excellence is an extreme commitment to detail. Excellence is in the inches. But does excellence grow the church?
Every value needs a counterpart. Without a counterpart, every value can be destructive. Being committed to doing things the right way is necessary and good, but without tension it can be dangerous. What happens when we are so committed to excellence that we forget who actually grows the church? A commitment to excellence is only helpful if on the other side is a dependence on God. We should work as unto the Lord. We should do all things to his glory. Excellence then should describe our ministry but it does not grow our ministry. Psalm 127:1 is a passage that our team goes back to time and again. We plan and we work hard, but it is the Lord who builds the church. The book of Acts is clear time and time again. While the apostles labored to make the gospel known, it was the Lord that added to their number. A commitment to excellence and a dependence on God really comes down to this: are we praying as hard as we are working? At Mercy Hill, we want our facilities to be clean and presentable every single weekend. But that doesn’t grow the church. We want our tech teams to nail every transition, but that doesn’t grow the church either. The church is his, and the growth is his alone. Let us be committed to excellence for his glory and dependent upon him for whatever results he brings.
-Andrew Hopper (Lead Pastor)
Read the previous “Peek Behind the Curtain” blogs here: