Good Enough

A classic quote on church pragmatism that I was reminded of today:

You may have heard it said, “If it can’t be done with excellence, don’t do it.”  Well, Jesus never said that!  The truth is, almost everything we do is done poorly when we first start doing it–that’s how we learn.  At Saddleback Church, we practice the “good enough” principle:  It doesn’t have to be perfect for God to use and bless it.  We would rather involve thousands of regular folks in ministry than have a perfect church run by a few elites.

Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Church

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~ by Dave Smith on May 11, 2009.

8 Responses to “Good Enough”

  1. So why does The Chapel only have a handful of teaching pastors?

  2. I would say that when it comes to the pulpit, this isn’t a motto they live by. It is more of the excellence mindset. Not saying one is right or wrong.

    Another quote I read over the weekend that reminds me of this discussion comes from the book Sticky Church by Osborne, who writes:

    “Rather than trying to have the most creative sermon series, the hippest worship, the best dog and pony show on Easter or Christmas Eve, we’ve simply tried to serve our people so well that they’ll want to bring their friends, without needing to be asked to do so” (20).

  3. I completely disagree with Warren. I’m too lazy tonight to explain why. If you don’t get already get how wrong that “good enough” mentality is, I am unlikely to persuade you.

    Let’s just turn out crap and “let God bless it.” Seriously!??! SHEESH!!

  4. I don’t read that quote as them professing to bless the churning of crap, although I am interested in how that process would play out.
    I think it speaks more to the idea of having flawed people (everyone) with flawed ideas doing their best to serve God’s Kingdom. While I agree that we don’t want to have a ho-hum attitude when it comes to doing a good job, it is certainly true that if we only allow the absolute smartest, most talented people in ministry then the ranks will be pretty thin

    Just my two cents on how I read it.

  5. Yea, I agree with Brian that I don’t see Warren insinuating what Rich alluding to.

    My impression of the comment is to be careful of not experimenting with things, over-preparing and planning to the point where your perfectionism become a hindrance of just doing it. I think it still demands a form of excellence, but not to the point of creating a stalemate.

    I guess on a deeper theological issue, there is nothing we ever do that is excellent (on our own merit).

    I agree with you though as well Rich…that we should still strive to do things well and with quality…however I think the term “excellent” is very subjective.

  6. My comment was mostly a friendly jab, Dave, so don’t take it too seriously.

  7. Actually, I thought it was a really good point! :>)

  8. Excellence is not the same as perfection. However, it does mean you do the best you can possibly do within the limits of your available resources.

    Sorry for the strong language, but I am SO tired of the church taking a “good enough” approach to spreading the gospel. Businesses using that same mindset go broke. Church leaders operating under that mindset are why most business leaders have no respect for most church leaders.

    And, it’s frustrating that Warren would say that, because the truth is that most of the time Saddleback does not tolerate “good enough.” So, I think Warren’s statement is inconsistent with the level of excellence at which his organization operates.

    “Good enough” is why I see church web sites everyday that haven’t been updated in weeks (or months), are full of grammatical and typographical errors, and do not for one moment consider who their audience might be.

    “Good enough” is why the audio mix at most churches is awful, and musicians are off-key.

    “Good enough” is why teens run away from the church as soon as they can and never come back—because children’s and teen programs were “good enough.”

    “Good enough” is why most of my neighbors haven’t been back to church since they graduated from college.

    “Good enough” is a great way to make sure your church is irrelevant.

    You know who really hates “good enough?” The people in your church who are actually INVITING lost people. Identify those people in your congregation, and ask them if they think things are “good enough.”

    The people in our organization who push us toward excellence are the people who have leveraged their friendships to bring others to church. They want it to be a GREAT experience for their friends. If you continue to settle for “good enough,” they will either stop inviting their friends, or they will invite their friends to another church. Show me a church doing “good enough” and I’ll show you a church where no one invites their friends.

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