Friday, January 16, 2015

Whose standard do you use?

I went to my local public high school.
It wasn't very good.
The students didn't value their studies.
I got 68.15 for my final mark and, I think, only three people from my entire year went to university straight out of school.
It took me a decade to finally get my degree.

But, I've worked with some quite prestigious (and pricey!) schools and school-goers.
I've gone to church with people who got high 90's for their final mark and think very little of doing double degrees. 

We, often, don't use the same standard.

I can slip into the standard used in high school... the bear minimum is more than enough.
Others, can use the standard where near perfection is barely a pass.

Now, I want to be clear, when it comes to ministry I want to pursue excellence (this is what the second E in my foundations for ministry stands for).
God invites me to, and deserves, for me to do my best.
Also, ministry takes work - sometimes bloody hard work - and those who faithfully give in order for me to work in a church deserve for me to do my best.

I wonder about those whose standards - at home, at work or in church - don't align.
I wonder about those who work to a standard which isn't "faithfully do my best" but, due to their upbringing or schooling, reflects near perfection.

I wonder about those who feel like failures because they don't make the "passing grade" drawn in their head, but not reflecting reality.

I fear, for some, going to a private school has, almost, set them up for a sense of unreasonable failure whenever they don't nail that worship set, give a flawless talk, give seamless game instructions, execute a faultless scripture lesson or give a less-than-tear-jerking prayer.

One of the jobs for those in ministry, when sensing that someone is using a set of incredibly high standards, is to...

a) Express heart-felt gratitude for what they do, even if it isn't perfect. Tell and show that you are thankful for not just what they do, but who they are.

b) Be liberal with encouragement and feedback so they see that what they're doing is of a high quality and you notice.

c) Remind them that God works on a standard of grace and love. Like a parent, He is proud whenever His children do things for Him. He sees their hearts and motives. And, He will reward them generously for what they have done.

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