I’m not sure who coined that saying, but we used to throw it around a lot at our church leadership meetings. The argument goes something like this:
__Joe__ (fill in name of church volunteer) is not a very good worship leader. He has a great heart, but his timing is poor and he can’t carry a tune. But we need to have someone lead worship and Joe is available. Besides, if worship is that important, then we can tolerate Joe being an amateur.
You can substitute just about any church ministry for “worship” — nursery worker, youth group leader, soup kitchen volunteer, small group host, etc. I only use worship as an example because, for us, it was something we wanted to do well but never had the talent to match our aspirations. So we did worship, we just didn’t always do it that good.
The comments in my last post, specifically the ones about craft and mediocrity, reminded me of that saying — If something is worth doing, then it’s worth doing badly.
That reasoning used to bug the crap out of me, probably because I couldn’t rebut it. As someone who’s obsessed with details and takes pride in wanting to do certain things well, I had to concede that some things are just too important to have to do perfectly all the time.
Take the scenario above, for instance. Joe is not a very good worship leader, but he is available and his heart is in the right place. Should the church just cancel live worship until Joe improves or until they find another worship leader? Or is worship important enough that the church should tolerate Joe’s mediocrity?
I chose the latter, and here’s why: Allowing mediocrity is different than accepting or approving mediocrity. In Joe’s case, I can tolerate his mediocrity without being satisfied with his performance. This is how people grow. We love them where they’re at and drive them to a higher standard. The problem is when we both tolerate and approve mediocrity. Then there is no reason for anyone to get better.
So if it’s worth doing, go ahead and do it badly. Just, next time, do it better.