If you have been or are looking to be on a worship team, at some point or another you will hear something along the lines of the importance of being excellent on a worship team. Before we look at what being excellent in this context looks like, let’s explore what God has to say about it.
What is Excellence?
Excellence is doing the best you can do with what you have been given. Excellence is not about perfection. While perfection is doing something without making a single mistake, you can be excellent without being perfect at the same time. Similarly, excellence isn’t about comparing yourself to someone else who is really good at what they do. Comparison leads us down a road of frustration and dissatisfaction. Your responsibility is to simply do the best you can with what you have been given, as seen in the parable of the talents, and continually improve on what gifts you have. This is what God desires and looks for in us.
Galatians 6:4 Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.
Where does excellence comes from?
In short, excellence comes from God. God does not create worthless things and when he created the earth, he said that it was good. When he created man and woman, he said it was very good. Excellence is something that God himself exhibits through his creation.
We also see examples of excellence in biblical characters. Perhaps one of the best-known biblical characters to display excellence is Daniel. Although living in a foreign land, Daniel received great favor and promotion because of the excellence he displayed in his life. He became the most honored advisor to the King of Babylon and a powerful leader because God’s spirit of excellence was in him and God’s favor was on his life.
Daniel 6:3 Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.
If you read on to verse four, you might think, “Daniel did everything perfectly, so that must be why people couldn’t find any fault with him.” That’s not actually what’s going on here in the story. The reason that Daniel’s enemies couldn’t find fault with him is that everything he did flowed out of a posture of excellence in character. Everything else flowed from this place of excellence in character and manifested itself in how Daniel accomplished his tasks. This is a critical distinction to make. Excellence is not perfection. It’s about being connected to God and letting him mold your character into being more like Jesus.
Although musical excellence is very important while on a worship team, we should first and foremost seek to be excellent in our relationship with God. Too often we can wind up desiring excellence in our musical growth over our spiritual growth.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
If we are putting a lot of time into practicing our music but little time into our relationship with God, we have it backwards. God should be our first priority in being excellent in worship. Your main motivation for being on a worship team should be to become more excellent in how you connect with and worship God. From this place, you will grow with excellence in your musical craft. As you do, remember that excellence is not perfection. Perfection is about performance while excellence is about worship.
Why is displaying excellence important?
We see that because God is an excellent God, his spirit resides in us, and we are made in his image, we too should display the same excellence. If we want the world around us to be attracted to the lives we live as Christians and reflect God well, we too should exhibit excellence in what we do. Even though God looks at the heart, the world will unfortunately still make judgements based on what they see on the outside.
1 Samuel 16:7… for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
Because of this, we shouldn’t be ruled by what the world thinks of us but first seek to honor God. At the same time we should be mindful that how we present ourselves to the world and how we exhibit excellence in what we do will have an impact on those around us and reflect on the God we serve.
Displaying excellence is also important in that it helps those around us. Many times excellence is something that we want just for our own personal gain, when in all actuality our excellence should benefit everyone around us.
1 Corinthians 12:7 A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.
If you have been given a gift and are trying to become excellent for yourself, you will not reach your full potential with that gift. Your gift came from God and needs to be used to help others. If you never cared to put effort into your relationship with God or in practicing your instrument, you would be a hinderance to your team and to the congregation. So as you seek excellence in your gifting, the work you put in will not only glorify God, but also help those around you.
- What is your initial reaction to this article? What jumped out at you?
- What do you think of when you hear the word ‘excellence’? Do you consider yourself to be excellent at something? Why?
- Read Daniel 6:3-4. After reading these verses, why do you think Daniel succeeded in being excellent?
- Describe a time when you felt like you did something perfectly.
- What do you think the difference(s) between excellence and perfectionism is? Does God long for excellence or perfectionism? Why?
- Read Galatians 6:4. How does this verse relate to how we view our personal excellence and the excellence of others?
- Read Luke 12:34. Give a ratio of how much time you spend with God versus how much time you spend playing music. Why is your relationship with God the best place for excellence to begin?
- Why is excellence important both in your personal life and also on the worship team?
- Read 1 Corinthians 12:7. How can the excellence in your life bless and encourage someone else? Name some ways that your personal excellence will benefit those around you, both in life and on a worship team.
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.