ARTS & A Leadership Exercise Comparing Excellence vs. Perfectionism

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 3/8/16.

This is a leadership exercise for clients, students and colleagues regarding how to foster more innovation and authenticity in our churches.  Let’s start this exercise with a quote from Rory Noland (1999:106):

“I think the best artist pursue excellence, not perfection.  In fact, I’d like to propose that perfectionism is more or less the evil twin of excellence. While perfectionism is destructive and man-centered, pursuing excellence is constructive and God-honoring.  Instead of pursuing perfection, we need to pursue excellence.”

A Leadership Exercise

Brainstorm regarding how to tell the difference between “excellence” and “perfectionism.” I will begin by suggesting several categories.

  1. Add at least one more category.
  2. Then share an example of “excellence” and of “perfectionism” in at least two categories.

So tell us, what would “excellence” and “perfectionism” look like in various ministry categories.  Copy what others have said to create a mega-list.

Category   > Solo song on Sunday morning (sometimes called “special music”):

Excellence:

Perfectionism:

Category   >  Call to worship:

Excellence:

Perfectionism:

Category   >  Ushering

Excellence:

Perfectionism:

Category   >  _____________

Excellence:

Perfectionism:

Category   >  _____________

Excellence:

Perfectionism:

Remember: add at least one (1) category and add at least two (2) examples. Your examples do not need to be under the same category.

Lessons Learned

Compare and comment upon the results. You will find that by looking at many examples you can begin to see even slight differences between “excellence” and “perfectionism.” Then you must decide which you will pursue.

Reference:  Rory Noland, The Heart of the Artist (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1999).