One of the values we have on the Willow Production team is to create a distraction-free environment. We are trying to be transparent, so that people in the congregation don’t notice the production, and can therefore focus on God.
Does this mean that perfection is the goal? Maybe it is splitting hairs, but I’m a huge opponent to the idea of perfection, but I have no problem with the idea of striving for transparency.
Perfection as a goal is like saying mistakes are not tolerated. For me, this removes the option of healthy risk-taking, which is critical to stretching ourselves and trying new things. If we aren’t taking risks, we aren’t figuring out more efficient ways of doing things. If we aren’t taking risks, we are potentially making choices based on old information from years ago.
If there is no room for making mistakes, eventually things will die. In his book “Leading Change”, John Kotter says that in order to keep a white fence white, it needs to be painted continually. If we are just leaving it alone, it will eventually deteriorate. Perfection as a goal cannot be sustained. Change has to happen, which opens things up to potential mistakes.
If striving for perfection is the highest goal, your team will be set up to fail. As time goes on with mistakes not happening, the pressure mounts for when the next mistake might happen. This leads people to perform their tasks out of fear of failure. I don’t know many people (none) who do their best work when they are afraid to mess up.
As a technical artist, I work really hard to clear the way for people to experience our church services without distraction. For me, this drive is based on wanting to do my very best. From the outside, my best might seem like I am striving for perfection. To me, I am doing everything in my power to make sure that I’ve checked everything, and that I have systems in place to cover known potential issues. I am not interested in making stupid mistakes over and over again.
I also know, that doing the best with what I have only goes so far. It can’t cover every potential thing that might happen. Even with an unlimited budget or the best experts in the field, I can’t account for every eventuality.
I was at a church service recently where all the front lights stopped working. In spite of this obvious distraction, the church service was amazing, and I believe that God moved. There was lots of tension in the front row about what was going to be done about it, but after things were fixed before the next service, there was tons of grace for the team…then a conversation about how do we make sure this doesn’t happen again.
How you respond to mistakes says a lot about your perspective on perfection. It is difficult to hold tightly to things being perfect and also realizing that mistakes happen and having grace in those moments.
The goal shouldn’t be perfect for the sake of perfection. The goal should be doing our very best to create an environment where people can experience God.
And sometimes our very best falls short, and God can still work.