To The Class of 2016: Energy. Excellence. Expectation.

By Matt Sapp

By Matt Sapp

If you could do one thing tomorrow with real energy, what would it be?

What would it take for you to complete tomorrow’s—or next week’s—tasks with real excellence?

What expectation—if any—do you have that God will meet you in your work and in your life tomorrow? Next week? Next year?

At HERITAGE, we have three core values that we seek to embody in everything we do. They are ENERGY, EXCELLENCE and EXPECTATION. 

So every day, my goal is to get up and approach the work I do personally with energy, excellence and expectation. I want everybody on our church staff and all of our volunteers to approach their work with energy, excellence and expectation. I want our worship services to be characterized by energy, excellence and expectation. I want our Bible study groups and missions projects to be marked by those qualities. And, I want our church members’ lives to be infused with energy, excellence and expectation, too.

At church and at home, at work and at play, I want God to be so present in our lives that we can’t help but do things with God-inspired energy, God-honoring excellence and the expectation that God will be present in all that we do.

Anyone who knows me or knows anything about church, though, knows that we—and most churches—don’t always hit those marks. 

It’s one thing to say we value these qualities and another thing entirely to do the things that lead to them. 

I’ve been using energy, excellence and expectation as core values since my first year as a youth minister. When I was tasked with leading my first graduate recognition service, I wanted to be able to simply express the qualities I hoped our graduates would take with them as they went out into the world, and energy, excellence and expectation are the qualities I came up with.

Since then, I’ve discovered that these qualities aren’t just helpful for high school graduates; they’re helpful for all of us. So, with graduation season upon us, when you walk out your door tomorrow, whether you’re 16 or 116, whether you’re trying something brand new or doing something for the thousandth time, remember this advice.

Wherever you go, whatever you do, do it with ENERGY, confident that God will renew your strength, because scripture teaches that God will (Isaiah 40:31).

Energy requires focus and priority. We can’t give everything we would like to do the energy it deserves. That means that committing to energy as a value requires that we make wise decisions about what we will and won’t do. So guard against being stretched too thin by being willing to say no to some things, so that you can energetically say yes to other things. Whatever you do, do it with energy.

Wherever you go, whatever you do, do it with EXCELLENCE, as if you were doing it directly for God, because I believe you are. (Colossians 3:23-24)

Energy requires that we choose the right things to do. Excellence requires that we choose to do them the right way. Excellence takes time, practice, and repetition. Excellence requires dedication and patience. And excellence requires the willingness to be bad at something before we’re good at it. Whatever you do, do it with excellence.

Wherever you go, whatever you do, do it with the EXPECTATION that God will meet you in your work, because I believe God will. (John 14:15-18)

Expectation requires thoughtfulness, prayerful planning and a constant openness to God’s presence. It’s amazing what can happen when we expect God to be present in what we do. 

We’re only a few days past Pentecost, the day when churches celebrate the continuing presence of God in our world. So expect God to be present in all that you do.

At HERITAGE, we hope that these core values, along with our vision statement, will (1) guide how we choose what we do and what we don’t do; (2) serve as a lens through which to evaluate our work; and (3) provide clear ways to communicate who we are to both our members and those we seek to reach with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I wonder how you might use these values and how they might work in your context. So put them into practice and let me know how it works out.

See you Sunday.