INTENTIONAL & EXCEPTIONAL

You want that pair of descriptors to be said about you and your team. Who doesn’t?
Think about the opposites though: Accidental and Typical. No dudes are getting those words tattooed on their forearm. And no girl is hand-lettering them to put on their entry table.
Typical is like gravity. It’s always pulling you down to safety, to inexpensive, to predictable, to easy, down to widely accepted. Are these words what you want to give your life to? Is this the list of descriptives you search for on Yelp when trying new restaurants? No way!
But exceptional takes uncommon energy. The SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket has to reach a speed of 7 miles per SECOND to leave the gravity of earth. And to do that it burns roughly 1 MILLION lbs of fuel. Not only that, it takes special fuel. And then SpaceX has rockets coming back to earth to be used again. That takes substantial brain power following countless failures and setbacks. I get to watch these rockets blast off from my back yard. It’s incredible. So much so that I add the launches to my calendar. I make extra effort to see the exceptional?
Exceptional take energy.
Look up. Fight to be exceptional.
Typical
  • Any church can do another event.
  • Any church can cram more events into Christmas season with arbitrary reasons of “volunteer appreciation” or “fellowship.”
  • Any church can wing it and not do a full run-through.
  • Any church can excuse mediocrity for lack of money or people.
  • Any church can hire the available person based on need.
  • Any church can say “We don’t want to ask too much of our teams.”
  • Any church can have secretaries take attendance at church events to make sure your staff are coming.
Exceptional
  • Less events, more impact. Better events, more intentionality.
  • Less arbitrary events in cliche seasons. More consideration for flow, impact, schedules, and momentum. For example, why do we not appreciate volunteers in February or October? Why is the standard thinking “We don’t care that you have 12 events in 8 days, from school to family to the 4 teams you serve with across your family. We’re doing another event because we ‘love’ you and it’s what you do at Christmas.”
  • More detailed memory and follow-through after events. Why are “Well it worked” and “They had fun anyway” still good excuses to forget the subpar performance and execution of an event?
  • Less direction, more descriptions. Tell your leaders how it should feel and what it should accomplish then deploy them to make it happen. Empowerment instead of “do this.”
  • Present the expectation to be exceptional, don’t just ask volunteers to do stuff.
  • Pay people to accomplish a professional level of execution. Don’t pay people for their time. We serve the Lord and change the world, not make widgets in a 40-hour work week.
Working with many churches in the last few years has provided me a previously-unrealized number of examples of these labels and quadrants seen in this picture. It’s been wildly helpful to see trends and patterns, prove stereotypes, and identify linchpin traits of leaders and churches.
Hopefully this will help with a new perspective.
Practically:
  • See what events and habits in your church fit into which quadrant. Then see if you like the labels that go with them.
  • Put your staff names in quadrants and think about how to move them to the top right.