How was your Easter weekend? Successful? Disastrous? Still riding the high from it? Still plotting ways to destroy all the server architecture you can find?
Our church had an incredible weekend. We are a church of about 3500 and, like most of you, had our very first online-only holiday weekend.
A whirlwind couple of weeks leading up to it culminated in:
- Rehearsals planning, production, preparation, shooting
- A special Zoom “choir” time that really encapsulated what we love about our church and how we’re all feeling the distance at this moment
- Our lead pastor throwing a dead plant at the camera as an illustration (DOPE!)
- 111 people saying YES to Jesus (THE BIGGEST WIN!)
- Almost 10k people, using a conservative estimate, worshipped with us
- All of our broadcast streams (CHoP to our website, Facebook, and YouTube) didn’t even have a hint of crash to them, and engagement was through the roof
A day of victory after victory.
And then...I started looking at social media....the great equalizer.
Other church services immediately flooded into my feed, one in particular.
See, our church is just up the road from a much LARGER church. Their services filled my feed, and I watched their very well-produced Easter. It was VERY well done, and my quick reaction was to start comparing ours to theirs.
I thought for a fleeting moment, “Wow, ours did this and this and this. But theirs? We could never have done that.”
In those moments, my shouts of praise over God’s victories in our services were quieted.
I began to scheme how we could be better, more flawless in our execution. I began to strive for PERFECTION. Lights and look and audio and slides. It all needed to be PERFECT, and we were anything but in our execution.
Like many of you, I began to get a little downcast in my soul. It was almost selfish, in a way.
That very vain moment passed quickly, however, as God reminded me of an old adage from Teddy Roosevelt that I lived by when comparing my worship leading skills with others:
Comparison is the thief of joy.
How true it was in that moment! God had just done awesome things in our church, and here I was belittling Him, telling Him that the flash, the pomp, and the circumstance was really what we needed.
As if I knew better than He did.
He knew the team that was assembled at our church. He knew the people that we would be reaching and the hearts that needed to hear what our pastor, our worship team, and myself were saying to them.
And He knows your church and your team and your community in the same way.
Many, if not most, of you reading this are now in this boat for the foreseeable future where you are reacting to the ever-changing social landscape in the best way they can. You’re doing online church services. And I bet a fair few of you are new to this realm.
Welcome to the family!
Many of you have Googled, “How to have an online church service” in the last 6 weeks, right?
In those searches, how many services from Elevation, Life.Church, or North Point did you see? Or how many videos did you see about the gear that you’ll need to get and the money you’ll need to spend to get your productions perfect and up to the level that will “truly” reach people?
And how DAUNTING did that look?
You, my friend, have started playing the comparison game.
Comparison is the thief of joy.
God has PLACED you in your position and into a unique community that only you can reach.
Not Elevation, Life.Church, or North Point.
You. Your church. Your particular brand of community.
You don’t need to look past the gifts, resources, and talents He has given you, your church, and your congregation. He needs YOUR CHURCH to be YOUR CHURCH. Not any other church.
That’s not to say that you should slack off, hold up an iPhone, and tell your pastor to give a 10 minute devotional.
You need to be striving for the best YOUR CHURCH can do! You need to strive for EXCELLENCE.
God doesn’t need you to be perfect. He’s already taken care of that.
Focus on YOUR community. Elevation is already reaching thousands of people. Life.Church is already doing things that you can’t. And THAT’S OKAY! Learn from them, but don’t emulate them.
Focus on your effort and your results.
Most importantly, focus on what God is doing in your church.
Have a killer outreach team or plan? Show it! Have a kid’s ministry that is chomping at the bit to connect kids to Jesus? Do it! Don’t try to force the proverbial square peg of your own church comparisons into the oddly-shaped hole that your community makes. They need you!
You don't need perfection, you need EXCELLENCE.
You don't need flash, you need substance.
You need heart. You need mission. You need to stay on brand. And your brand is none other than the King of the Universe.
Don’t play the comparison game. Rejoice in the calling and community God has placed you.
And then work your hardest to bring excellence to them.