The last 10 per cent

Entrepreneur, author and public speaker Seth Godin blogs regularly about business issues. His posts often touch on matters which are relevant to us, as communicators of the gospel. In a recent post, Seth challenged us all to pursue excellence.

In most fields, there’s an awful lot of work put into the last ten percent of quality. Getting your golf score from 77 to 70 is far more difficult than getting it from 120 to 113 or even from 84 to 77….

The last ten percent is the signal we look for, the way we communicate care and expertise and professionalism. If all you’re doing is the standard amount, all you’re going to get is the standard compensation. The hard part is the last ten percent, sure, or even the last one percent, but it’s the hard part because everyone is busy doing the easy part already.

Of course, we are not in the business of monetary compensation. But, need this principle be confined only to the commercial world? Dare we, as those ministering to children, be satisfied with the ordinary, the 90% effort. Dare we stop when the cost starts to bite?

Seth Godin speaks of the last 10%, even the last 1% effort, which sets apart one businessman, marketer or entrepreneur from all the rest. He asks, what message does that last 1% send out? We, too, could ask ourselves that question.

Seth said: “The last ten percent is the signal we look for, the way we communicate care and expertise and professionalism.”

Yes, it costs in time and effort:

  • To prepare fresh and attractive visuals that make teaching memorable for the children.
  • To dig deep into the Word of God, and into background study in order to present the Bible lesson in historical and cultural context.
  • To ponder the Bible truth and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, recognize illustrative stories and personal experiences which will help the children identify with the principles you are sharing.
  • To prepare leaflets, letters and other communications with parents which convey the relevance and quality of teaching and attention to detail in your care of the children.
  • To read books, study blogs and attend training sessions in order to open ourselves to new insights and encouragement from others in kids’ ministry

Indeed, in every aspect of our work for God we are challenged to press through to produce that final 10% of effort beyond the ordinary. We do it, not because we crave kudos and admiration, but because the cause of Christ deserves it, right to the last most costly 1%, because Christ gave nothing less.

Let’s not be satisfied with the ordinary. Let’s pursue excellence in all we do, for the sake of Christ and for the sake of the children we serve.

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