The Art of Excellence.



1. the quality of being outstanding or extremely good.
2. "a center of academic excellence"

Interesting topic.

There are a lot of biblical scriptures about excellence. But I want to dispel some bad teachings about this topic that some worship leaders can place on their teams. I learned more about this through my experiences with the community I am currently in, and a great worship leader, Jaye Thomas, as he explained to me his ideas on what true excellence means.

Btw; it has nothing to do with how good you are at your craft. Shocker.

I was 17 years old when I first led worship at my parents church in Napier, New Zealand. I was full of passion and wanted to have the best vocalists and musicians the city had to offer. The music was everything, and boy was I gonna make God proud. This thought process continued through my worship “career” as I began to lead teams and coach players around the world into their wondrous musical worshipping destinies. BUT. Ohhhh, if someone made a mistake? A wrong note, or a silly run? Wait, you’re seriously pitchy right now? That was it. “That’s not excellence!” I would exclaim. Mostly because that was how I was taught. As a performance major (and perfectionist), the presence of God ONLY came based on the performance of our playing. It was EVERYTHING. Naturally, a lot of dirty looks were passed on from me expecting only the best from my teams. It was awful. I was awful.

As i (slowly) matured, I began to research the Lords definition of excellence. Cue Jaye Thomas. I found out, the real source of excellence comes from the heart, not your instrument.

The bible mentions excellence many times, but when used for worship, it is ALWAYS a matter of the heart. What does that mean? Well, it’s basically doing our very best for God regardless of our skill level. As long as we strive to play and serve and the very best level we can, we are doing so excellently. Now, this doesn’t mean we don’t play skillfully. The bible clearly states to continue to master our craft and continue to prepare our fingers for battle, so to speak. But don’t confuse this with excellence. If your bass player is giving everything he or she has in worship and hits that wrong note, it shouldn’t be a dirty look or a meeting about excellence in their future. We need to encourage our teams to be the very best they can be at any level. Then begin to train them with skill and precision.  

So now you know. Excellence always starts at the heart level NOT the skill level. Once you can create an excellent culture that way, the skill and musicianship will naturally follow.