This article first appeared in Reality Magazine, August/September 2001. Mark Pierson
I’m anti excellence. I’m anti excellence in church life and I’m particularly anti excellence in worship. It’s not a popular opinion to express in some churches today. In fact excellence has become such an important value in these circles that they sponsor and attend expensive conferences devoted to the theme. I don’t know much about what happens at these junkets for pastors but I did come very close to attending one earlier this year. I even had my ticket, but when I looked at the programme and discovered that the creative-arts-in-worship track consisted entirely of an exhaustive treatment of every aspect of vocal technique and worship-band performance I decided that staying away would be my contribution to excellence that week. I wonder if excellence is a cultural value rather than a biblical one? I’m sure someone will quote a First Testament verse referring to the excellence required of artisans working on the temple in King Solomon’s time, but I think they’d be hard pushed to squeeze one (even that tenuously linked) from the Second Testament. Particularly from the lips of Jesus.