Your mind and body belong to God. The Bible is explicit about these facts (2 Corinthians 10:5; 1 Corinthians 6:20). So when you read words from Christians, or see pictures from Christian leaders or pastors, who suggest that unless your “excellence” is similar to theirs you’re unsuccessful, just excuse their Western/American version of a faith that was birthed by a poor Man who didn’t have a cent to His name when He was murdered like a criminal. (And He was excellent!)
Personally, I’m exhausted by the idea that brighter lights and higher decibels equate excellence . . . and the brighter and higher, the more excellent still. It’s an embarrassment, in my opinion, when leaders justify their extravagance with the word “excellence.” I know that as a Christian, I’m responsible to think “excellent” thoughts (Philippians 4:8), and to acknowledge that Christ is “excellent” (2 Peter 1:3). But our brothers and sisters who are worshipping in the underground Church of the Middle East or China — is their worship somehow less excellent because it lacks the Western spark? I certainly hope not. In fact, Christ warned us about thinking our “consistence” was dictated by our possessions (Luke 12:15) — or in this case, spark.
Christ called us to simplicity (Luke 6:27-36). Paul called us to simplicity (1 Timothy 6:6-7). Peter demonstrated simplicity (Acts 3:6). John’s revelation calls us to a faithfulness (Revelation 2:10, 22:7). When did the Church become convinced that it’s power and influence correlated with it’s . . . what’s the word . . . “excellence”? I think we need to be cautious how we use our words and express our ideas about the Church, because, although Jesus was successful at drawing crowds (John 6:24), His commanded disciples . . . and discipleship is costly (Luke 14:25-33). Is our excellence helping to create disciples, or crowds? In the end, this is all that matters.
NOTE: Please know that I don’t equate a church’s excellence with it’s mundaneness, nor do I assume that every event-like church is failing to achieve excellence. Both are useful, and I, and those I talked to for this piece, have attended both with varying responses.