In a book I acquired recently, the author, Todd Rose, writes and talks about The End of Average - How We Succeed in a World That Values Sameness. I'm two chapters into it (I read about three books at a time which isn't good, but it is what it is), and the author notes our culture's use of "sameness." He speaks of how the marketplace drives "average," how medicine drives "average," and all other aspects of people and professions that value average. The temptation to target "sameness" comes from attempting to diagnose, prescribe, and attempt to solve problems, cure diseases, find a solution to overcome obstacles, and a host of other observations meant to examine the situation. "If we can identify what the average person needs/wants/desires, then we can treat the issue for a broad number of people."
Rose talks about issues in the Army Air Corps (what would become the Air Force) and the inordinate number of crashes occurring due to "pilot error." They studied pilots and cockpits and sought to find out what the average pilot was built like - height, arm and leg length, and the cockpit designed to fit that. Believe it or not, it finally occurred to them to discard that notion and design a cockpit that could adjust to the individual. Todd writes, "By discarding the average as their reference standard, the air force initiated a quantum leap in its design philosophy, centered on a new guiding principle: individual fit."
Teams that excel make that same devotion to excellence. How do our individuals fit into our game plan? How does our game plan reflect the individuals who make up the team? Like them or not (maybe even detest them), the New England Patriots haven't dominated for years by targeting average.
How does this notion of targeting average by various industries impact the church? Is the church of targeting average? While your desire may be to say, "No, our church is a church of excellence and our ministries are of excellence!", the fact is we are creatures of comfort, and the expectations necessary to create the environment of excellence often challenge those comfort zones. Christ certainly turned the comfort zone on its ears in His day when he said this, "On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (Mark 2:17) Came to call sinners? But we value those who walk in the paths of the law, who observe the law, who tithe, who observe the Sabbath, and who observe the various rules in and around the temple.
This simple comment speaks volumes to us today. Why do we exist? What is our role and purpose in this world? How do we operate in this world from Sunday through the rest of the week? How do our Sunday activities appeal to those not part of the church?
Pray we expect excellence as we serve Christ. Pray that we understand the fact that we are here to serve those not yet in the Word and to recognize the need for grace and mercy in our own lives.
Hope Men's Ministry