ALL - Why I Am 'Anti-Excellence / Pro-Participation'

Image of a man playing piano. The word all is written on the picture.

Whilst I was at Greenbelt this year I heard Nadia Bolz-Weber speaking. She said a phrase that captivated so much of what we are trying to do at Aire Valley Community Church. The phrase was ‘anti-excellence / pro-participation’.
Excellence is something that I have heard a lot about; the idea that as the church we somehow need to keep up with the media in terms of performance and presentation so that we can maintain ‘relevance’ in society. The worship band all have to be accomplished musicians (usually of a certain age and visual appearance), the preacher must look successful (who wants to listen to someone who is as broken and flawed as we are), and the building must look attractive with beautiful artwork and matching seats. But the truth is that most of our lives don’t reflect this persona. We aren't accomplished musicians or successful entrepreneurs and our houses don’t look like show homes. So what part do we have to play in this fabricated reality? The answer is very little (make up the numbers and give your money).
I believe that most of us just want to be part of something greater than ourselves, to use the gifts that God has given us in some small way; but we are often put off by the perception of excellence.
I believe that Christ calls us to join in regardless of our ability, to participate in the gathering of his people.
So may you paint pictures even when they aren't that good.
May you play instruments even though you hit wrong chords.
May you speak for what you are passionate about, even when you stumble through it.

And may you participate even when life is messy.


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