The battle between excellence and risk
I grew up playing on my church worship team, first on drums and then later with my acoustic guitar. It was something that I enjoyed doing but not something that I was overly skilled in. The potential was there, but it just needed some unlocking.
In 2010 I started studying at Regents Theological College with very little experience of leading any sort of sung worship. After a huge argument with myself, I decided to audition for the worship team. Just to play acoustic guitar… nothing more than that. But someone saw the potential in me and encouraged me to pursue leading worship in the team. That day was my first step towards entering into the calling God had for me.
Someone took a chance on me.
The Bible is very clear that we need to give God our best and push for excellence in everything that we do. It’s highlighted specifically when it comes to sung worship in 1 Chronicles. We’re told about a man called Kenaniah who was responsible for the singing when transporting the ark of the covenant as he was SKILLFUL at it (1 Chronicles 15:22).
Again in 1 Kings 6 we see the plans for the building of the temple and it becomes very clear that God is a God of the excellent! No cheap second-hand materials are used to construct this place - but instead - gold, cedar and olive wood. God likes things done well, and he deserves excellence!
I love the quote from Tim Hughes that reads “we aim for perfection and settle for excellence because God deserves our best.” In fact, I like it so much that we even have it written into our worship team agreement at church.
I believe in excellence!
But… someone took a chance on me. Me, with all my clunkiness and inexperience. Me, with all my nervousness and mistakes. Someone took a chance!
So where does that fit in with this model of excellence? How can we achieve excellence when we are supposed to also be training up and investing in people. Is it possible to do both?
I believe that there comes a time where you have to take a risk in order to invest in someone. There comes a time where you have to make a conscious decision that you are willing to sacrifice a little of the excellence in exchange for providing the opportunity for growth.
Whenever we are selecting people to serve on a worship team at external events or conferences, we strive to make sure that at least one person on the team is a risk person. A person who you can see the potential in and who you want to encourage even though they may not see it in them self yet. Could you pick someone more confident, more skilled, or more experienced? Of course. But if we truly want to equip and empower people in our teams then we need to be willing to take that risk.
It’s something that we are having to do at our church at the moment. There are bags of potential, but until those people are given the opportunity to use that gifting in a public setting, they’re going to struggle to grow in that.
Does that mean that occasionally we are going to have a service where the music in our sung worship is not as excellent as it could be? Yes. Is that worth the risk? Absolutely.
I was once someone's risk person.
Someone once took a chance on me - and I’m so glad they did. Who are you going to take a chance on?
Questions: Who are you going to take a chance on? Leave a comment below.