Do you have any heroes? I certainly do.
One of my “heroes” is a man named Bill Hybels. Over 40 years ago he saw a need in his community for the kind of fellowship he’d only ever seen in Acts 2. So he started a church. That was the humble beginning of Willow Creek, one of the largest and most dynamic churches in our country today.
What I love about Bill is that he’s just an average guy who found success by being disciplined, diligent, and devoted to passionate preparation. When you hear his sermons, there is nothing that overwhelms you about the sound of his voice or the weight of his personality. However, it’s obvious that he put in hours of preparation for that moment. And that’s what makes him great.
“We must fight for excellence because it is excellence that honors God. It is excellence that inspires people.” (Bill Hybels)
I want to take a moment to define excellence.
Excellence is not about being better than the next guy or being the best at something. Excellence is resting in the fact that you did everything you could possibly do. As the late John Wooden put it, “Success is peace of mind knowing you did your best.”
Games are not won on GameDay. They are won at practice.
Sermons (or lessons) are no different. The sermons that speak to your heart and pierce through the barriers of sin and shame don’t happen by chance. They require diligence in prayer and preparation. They require careful consideration of their audience and the truth they are trying to convey.
“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” (John Wooden)
When I listen to Bill Hybels preaching, I am reminded that anyone can be excellent. If you are committed to working hard, with discipline and passionate preparation, your ministry can be honoring to God. And special things happen when we live in light of God’s Truth.