12 Ways to Recognize Mediocrity in Your Ministry

"Chronic mediocrity is a symptom of ineffective leadership, not anemic personnel.”

Chronic mediocrity and apathy are close cousins. It reveals something is lacking in the vision and/or the communication of it. It usually also reveals a lack of preparation. Or a lack of stewardship. Or both. It demoralizes the team members who want to strive for excellence.

 

The Harvard Business Review published an article a few weeks back called What to Do About Mediocrity on Your Team. The opening line is poignant:

“The toughest test of a manager is not how they deal with poor performance — it’s how they address mediocrity.”

Wow. For reasons I don’t like, this line jumped out at me as something church leaders need to chew on.

How do you recognize mediocrity in your ministry? I asked the team at The Unstuck Group to share some ideas based on what they see in the churches we’ve served.

You Might Be Tolerating Mediocrity If…

  1. You’re trying to please everyone.
  2. You’re waiting to perfect a new strategy before you try it.
  3. You spend all your time trying to perfect what you’re already doing today.
  4. You spend your whole budget to fill all the roles you think your church needs, rather than investing more in the best people for fewer roles.
  5. You measure your church’s devotion to prayer by how many people show up to a “prayer gathering” on a certain day and time.
  6. Your ministry model is complex. Mediocrity is a natural result of complexity. You can’t do a lot of things and do them all above-average.
  7. You think measuring results isn’t spiritual.
  8. Your team consistently does the minimum required; there’s not an effort to exceed expectations.
  9. You don’t require accountability from your staff or volunteers.
  10. You don’t prioritize coaching, training and mentorship for your staff or volunteers.
  11. You have meetings, more meetings, and meetings about the meetings.
  12. You allow a fuzzy vision to prevail for years.

Chronic mediocrity and apathy are close cousins. It reveals something is lacking in the vision and/or the communication of it. It usually also reveals a lack of preparation. Or a lack of stewardship. Or both. It demoralizes the team members who want to strive for excellence.

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