Some of you might wonder why I’m so obsessed with excellence even when it comes to the small details. Well a couple of days ago my friend Mark Batterson wrote something that explained it better than I can. Here is an excerpt from what he wrote…
In the March 1982 issue of Atlantic Monthly, James Wilson and George Kelling wrote a piece titled Broken Windows. They argued that something as insignificant and innocuous as a broken window sends a subliminal message. If the window is left unrepaired it communicates that crime is ok. So Wilson and Kelling argued that the way to fight serious crime is by cracking down on small infractions.
That is precisely what happened in New York City when Rudolph Giuliani was elected mayor in 1994. He cracked down on squeegee pests; arrested fare jumpers; and cleaned up the graffiti on subway cars. Critics said it was a waste of time and a waste of money. Statistics would suggest otherwise. The murder rate was more than cut in half.
In his book, Broken Windows Broken Business, Michael Levine applies the broken window theory to business.
A broken window can be a sloppy counter, a poorly located sale item, a randomly organized menu, or an employee with a bad attitude. It can be physical, like a faded paint job, or symbolic, like a policy that requires customers to pay for customer service. When the waiter at a Chinese restaurant is named Billy Bob, that’s a broken window.
So then how does that apply to us. Well every misspelled word on a slide, every missed transition between elements, every guest ungreeted, every misplayed note or misspoken word, says something. Now is the world going to come to an end because of any of these things? No. Will most “church people” overlook these types of things? Yes. But what does the person coming in for the first-time think? For many it just reinforces the idea they already have in their head that church is something not to be taken seriously.
I guess what I’m saying is we need to strive to be excellent in everything we do…even in the small things. Now many of you reading this can’t do anything about some of the things I mentioned above, but here are some things you can do. If you see a piece of trash on the floor, stop and pick it up…yes it is your job. If you’re in the bathroom and the counters have water all over them, take a paper towel or two and wipe up the area. If you see someone that looks like they’re lost in the building, go help them. If during the summer you notice the grass is getting long, volunteer to be on the mowing crew.
I’ll wrap-up by reminding you that this is one of our core values…Excellence Honors God and Inspires People. Excellence doesn’t mean perfection, but it does mean doing the very best that you possibly can.