Excellence in the Kingdom
Given By: "Glenn D. Blank" On Saturday, February 25, 2012

Excellence in the kingdom happens when we, who are God's family, do what the Spirit of God moves and guides us to do, with such wholehearted devotion and quality that we find favor with God and with other people, who will be drawn to join us in giving God the glory.

Is that something we want? How many of you want excellence in our congregation?

How many of you want excellence in your ministry, as God's Spirit moves and guides you to do?

For Beit Simcha to be excellent, each of you excel in your ministry. V'eemru? (And let us say?)

Let's turn to Exodus 35, where we find an example of excellence in ministry.

God initiates a building project-assembling the Tabernacle where His Shekinah would dwell ?and His people would meet with Him and worship Him.

Exodus (Sh'mot) 35:29, "The Israelites, all the men and women, whose heart moved them to bring material for all the work, which the LORD had commanded through Moses to be done, brought a freewill offering to the LORD."

How many Israelites participated in this project? All the men and women whose heart moved them.

Was this a high percentage? Yes! God's Spirit moved, so they moved, bringing more than enough!

What does "a freewill offering" imply about their motivation for participating??It was voluntary-they wanted to do it, because they knew the Spirit of God wanted them to do it.

Congregations are voluntary organizations. They succeed to the extent that people give themselves.

Congregations succeed when all or at least most of the people bring their best, freely. V'eemru?

Continuing in Ex 35:30, "Then Moses said to the children of Israel, "See, the LORD has called by name Betzalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah."?Did Betzalel get the job because the people elected him? No, God chose and called him.?God has chosen every one of you by name. You just need to hear and do what He is calling you to do.

31 "And He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding and in knowledge and in all craftsmanship."?What was Betzalel first and foremost qualification for his calling? Was it his talent, or his knowledge, or his skill? No: it was the Spirit of God (Ruach Elohim) filling him, activating him.

The Spirit of God brought out the best in Betzalel-the Holy Spirit activated all the wisdom and understanding and knowledge and craftsmanship he would need to excel in his task for the Lord.

Have any of you experienced the Spirit of God activating wisdom and skill in you to do His work??What do you need to do to excel in wisdom and knowledge and skill??31 ". to make designs for working in gold and in silver and in bronze, and in the cutting of stones for settings and in the carving of wood, so as to perform in every inventive work."

How many of you believe the Spirit of God equipped Betzalel to do his ministry with excellence?

How many of you believe the Spirit of God has equipped you to do your ministry with excellence?

Then let's go for it! Let's go for the gold (and silver and bronze, and stones and wood).?We need it all to succeed, whether it be singing on the worship team or setting up the foyer or oneg, or putting things away afterwards, whether it be welcoming visitors watching children in the nursery, we need these things to be done with excellence. V'eemru?

32 "He also has put in his heart to teach, both he and Oholiab."?Was the tabernacle assembly ministry a job for just one man, or one or two??No, they needed a lot of help.  That's why God also gave Betzalel and Ohaliab a heart to teach others.

How many of you want to learn how to do ministry well? Then I urge you to be teachable.?Then, when you have learned how to do a ministry well, have it in your heart to train others. Amen?

On Dr. Daniel Juster's recommendation, Beit Simcha's zakenim (eldership) team has been studying Thom S. Ranier's Breakout Churches.

While we see much potential at Beit Simcha, we see areas that we need to address.

One area is to identify the passions and gifts of the congregation, so we can excel in ministry.

To this end, Pericles has developed a Passion/Gifts survey, which we will circulate with ?the congregation at our semi-annual meeting this afternoon.


Another key issue is developing a culture of excellence in our ministries.

Breakout congregations experience some difficult times, like everyone else.?What distinguishes them is that "they don't want to do anything unless they are doing their best."

They aren't content with the 80/20 pattern of 20% of the members are doing 80% of the ministry.

How about Beit Simcha? Would we be content with this 80/20 pattern? I hope not.

The bylaws of the congregation call for each one to covenant to serve within the congregation.

I challenge people in the membership class to start serving right away-that way you'll know and we'll all know you are called to be a member before we lay hands on you to be a member. Amen?

If you look at the membership of the congregation, a high percentage of you are involved in ministry.

Excellent? Well, let's be honest with ourselves. Are we breaking out yet?

Are their ministries that are struggling to achieve excellence, especially essential ministries? 

When Ranier and his research team visited breakout congregations, they noticed that things are done with excellence. People visiting would say, "Somebody really cares about this place."?Now it's not that breakout congregations are excellent in every conceivable way.

They chose the areas in which they could be excellent and did not attempt to do everything else.

They chose to excel in the essentials: when you visit a breakout congregation, you are impressed with the facilities, with the core ministries, with the evangelistic outreach, with the commitment of the ministry leaders, and with the obvious commitment of the members.

They chose to excel in areas tied to their vision and passions.

They especially chose to excel for the sake of "those who are not yet here"-

for those whom the Lord wants us to reach and draw into His kingdom.

Is excellence something we can attain at Beit Simcha??I believe so, because the Lord has called us, and the Spirit of God is here to equip us. V'eemru?

We have a few challenges.  When Pericles updated our ministry chart, he counted 87 distinct ministries-and that was after we culled a few that are no longer active-we just added 1, so it's 88.

Here's the challenge: Beit Simcha currently has 44 members, including our youth members. 

You can find them, with nice pictures, on our web site. Do the math: which is greater 88 or 44?

How about slightly more challenging math (no algebra): about how many times does 44 go into 88?

Here's another challenge, some of our ministries require many people. Can you think of any??The worship team, oneg set up and tear down, Shabbat school and nursery, ushering & greeting, healing and intercessory prayer, and many others.

Now the math is getting more complicated. If we have 88 ministries and many require many people, what do we need most of the members to do?

Help is on the way! We do have maybe 25 people coming regularly, including about 5 or 6 who are nearly finished with the membership class. We really welcome your help!

Here's another challenge: many of our members have been given themselves to a ministry that they are passionate about-which is good-but our essential ministries are undermanned.

By essential ministries, the leadership team means things necessary for us to fulfill our vision, ?week in and week out, such as setting up the sanctuary, the foyer, the oneg, and putting things away, ushering & greeting people (doorkeeper ministry), teaching children in Shabbat school & nursery, etc

How many of you agree that we must do these essential ministries with excellence??In ancient times, these things were handled by the Levites.  But we only one Levy family here,?and they are spread pretty thing between all our essential ministries!  We need more Levites!

On other hand, many new ministries have developed around the vision and passions of our members.

For example, Richard and Sandy Gangewere have a visionary passion for ministering to he homeless.

Michael Sandt has a visionary passion for Power and Love Ministry.

Nancy Hahn has a visionary passion for Healing Ministry. 

Holly Blank has a visionary passion for ministering to your young women.

How many of you would agree these are all excellent things to be visionary and passionate about?

Here's the challenge.  If many of the members of our congregation consider these ministries their only ministry for the congregation, then what will happen to our essential ministries?

What should we do?

The leadership team believes we can attain excellence in both our essential and visionary ministries.?Your shamashim have committed to improving the way we coordinate and pray for ministries.

This afternoon I will review our updated Ministry Organizational Chart and how it will help us be more effective and excellent.?The leadership team also believes that we need our members and regulars to commit themselves to excellence, by serving in more than one ministry, and at least one essential ministry.?The Breakout Churches book talks about "one our heroes" -people who commit to give themselves for one hour a week to ministry, especially the essential ministries of the congregation.

I would like to take a moment to thank some of the one hour heroes among us:

?--Thank you, Nydia, for coming early to make sure things are set up for us.?

--Thank you, Shameika, for heading our sound ministry? Doesn't she do a great job?

--Thank you, Donia, for putting my sermons on the web site, including our new podcast!

--Thank you, Jesse and Michele for heading up our Greeter ministry-and thank you for, bringing Raelynn with you to help set up, and thank your for putting together our bulletins and Powerpoints.

--Thank you, Tim Basehore for heading up our ushers, fixing things, and making sure the folks in Wellspring know when we need the building for festivals and coffeehouses!

--Thank you, Aaron Levy, our trustworthy treasurer-talk about essential Levitical ministry!

--Thank you, Sue Levy for keeping our Shabbat school and nursery running-ladies and gentlemen, she is always tell me she needs more aides and more teachers! Do we want excellence for children??--Do you all know how many more people I would need to thank today? Thank you, Pamela.

--Could you all do me a favor, and find out someone else's ministry or ministries during oneg

and thank him or her today?  Not just a pleasant little thank you, but a hearty one, with a hug!

Let's appreciate each other, and urge one another on to love and good deeds. V'eemru?

Some I come back to this question: Is excellence something we can attain at Beit Simcha??I believe so, because the Lord has called us, and the Spirit of God is here to equip us. V'eemru?

Consider Yeshua Himself.

Luke 2:52, "Yeshua kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men."

Yeshua is excellent! V'eemru? O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your Name!

His excellence gave Him favor with God and men.?In Acts 2, we see that His excellence and favor eventually rubbed of on His followers.

Acts 2:46-47, "Day by day they continued with one mind spending time at the Temple and breaking bread from house to house. They were sharing meals with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people.  And every day the Lord was adding to their number those being saved."

What do the followers of Yeshua have in common with our Lord?? They had favor with all the people. They did the essential things--when there were together in the Temple and from house to house-with excellence, as the Spirit of God moved them.

They were also sharing meals-and that doesn't just mean they ate, they also set up a place to eat and brought food to eat, and later they cleaned up and put things away. V'eemru?

They ministered to one another with gladness and sincerity of heart-with wholehearted devotion.

When they praised God, they did it with gusto, with the power of the Spirit.?When they set up or put things away-they did that with gusto and the Spirit, too. V'eemru?

And that's why they kept having favor with God and with all the people.

And that's why the Lord kept adding to their number those being saved.

Dear Beit Simcha, can that happen here?

I believe so, because the Lord has called us, and the Spirit of God is here to equip us. V'eemru?

The worship team may come forward. Let's pray..