The Case for Excellence – Honoring God with Our Best

As we continue in our effort to building a case for excellence in online ministry, we’re blessed to have Paul Steinbrueck , co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.com weigh in on why we must strive for excellence.

Ministry leaders will be gathering at the CLA Ministry Internet & Technology Summit, April 19-21 in San Diego, CA to discuss the critical issues facing ministries and to learn from the Excellence in Online Ministry research. If you are a ministry leader interested in achieving excellence online, we invite you to join our efforts to strengthen online ministry.

Click here to take the Excellence in Online Ministry survey.

Click here to learn more about CLA Ministry Internet & Technology Summit.

Click here to learn more about the Excellence in Online Ministry project.


When I think about what scripture says about excellence, the first passage that comes to mind is Malachi 1:6-10.

At the time, the God’s people had started slacking off in the giving of their tithes and offerings. Instead of bringing their best lambs, they were keeping the best for themselves and giving God the leftovers. God didn’t take very kindly to this when he spoke through the prophet Malachi.

6 “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” says the Lord Almighty. “It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name.
“But you ask, ‘How have we shown contempt for your name?’
7 “You place defiled food on my altar.
“But you ask, ‘How have we defiled you?’
“By saying that the Lord’s table is contemptible.
8 “When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the Lord Almighty.
9 “Now implore God to be gracious to us. With such offerings from your hands, will he accept you?”—says the Lord Almighty.
10 “Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the Lord Almighty, “and I will accept no offering from your hands.”

Unfortunately, day in and day out I see churches and ministries essentially doing the same thing with their websites and online ministries – giving God the leftovers.

I regularly see ministries that spend a million dollars or more on a new building, but won’t budget more than a couple hundred dollars a year for their website. Many churches will ask an inexperience youth pastor or worship leader to take on the extra roll of developing and managing their website. Others delegate website responsibilities to volunteers to do in their “spare time.”

The result is often poor websites that don’t honor God.

Ministry excellence is not about how much you spend, how big your communications staff is, or whether your site has the coolest technology. Sure, money and staffing is important, but excellence is about honoring God by giving him your best.

Excellence includes things like:

  • Proofing copy to eliminate spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Responding the same day to people who contact your organization.
  • Making sure the website always has current information on it.
  • Doing periodic usability tests and soliciting honest feedback from users.
  • Designing your website as if you were designing it for God himself.

Imagine yourself standing before God about to give him a tour of your website. That thought probably either gets you really excited or makes you want to put a paper bag over your head. That should tell you whether you’ve been honoring God with your ministry’s web endeavors.

Like the parable of the talents illustrates, it’s not as much about how much money/talent you have. Rather it’s what you do with the money/talent with which God has entrusted you.


Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.com. He blogs about ministry technology issues at Christian Web Trends. He lives in Safety Harbor, FL with his wife and 3 children, and serves on the elder and communications teams at Cypress Meadows Community Church.

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