There are ministers and there are performers. And unfortunately, there are some ministers who act more like performers.
I hate unpreparedness. Nothing irks me more than when someone, particularly in a church service, gets up to do something without having prepared. I believe in doing everything with excellence, and when leading, I try not to let anything but the best occur under my watch and supervision. Anything less is inexcusable, although some things inevitably slip through the cracks.
But at the same time, there’s a fine line between excellence and perfection, or between preparedness and performance, particularly in church.
I’ve come to believe that when your goal is perfection, it can easily move from ministry to performance, and those are VERY different things.
- A minister seeks to glorify God, honor the Spirit, and uplift Jesus.
- A performer seeks to glorify, honor, and uplift self.
- A minister lets God do His work to move the people.
- A performer seeks to move people through their talent.
- A minister will get out of the way when God desires to move.
- A performer won’t budge, as they want all eyes on them.
- A minister is concerned with the ministry.
- A performer is concerned with the show.
I don’t believe I’ve ever been ushered into the presence of God through an overly perfected performance. And at the same time, a minister who is totally unprepared can just as easily squelch the presence of God.
Ministers are not performers and performers are not ministers. I suppose it all boils down to a mindset—who are you seeking to glorify? God or yourself? In the end, I think that’s the only question that matters.
So the next time you have an opportunity to minister, be prepared and do it with excellence, but make sure you’re not just performing.