Raise the Bar

As i interact with people and read things around the web about the church and society as a whole, I hear a lot about success and the victories that are being won.

I’m grateful for the stories of life change, growth, and advancement, but I can’t help but wonder if we’ve set the bar too low.

If all we ever do is make a way to prove that we’re being successful, we’re never actually being successful.

I can’t help but wonder if we’ve set the bar so low (in the church world and in society) that we’ve made success the only possible outcome of what we do.

We have to be realistic, but we also have to shoot a concentrated target.
Rationalizing how we hit the target when we actually missed the target does nothing but give us a fake sense of accomplishment.

We have to raise the bar.

  • We have to be willing to seek God, hear God, dream big, and shoot for a big goal.
  • We have to be honest with ourselves and with those around us when we fail to meet the goal or hit the target.
  • We have to raise the bar so that we’re not always finding a way to rationalize every effort into a win.

No matter what you’re doing, raise the bar…

  • Expect the best from your kids and be honest with them when they miss it.
  • Decide to make a difference even though you’re inexperienced.
  • Set a lofty goal as a church leader and be willing to do some honest evaluation afterwards.
  • Set a high bar in your finances and be honest with where you messed it up.

Raise the bar.

Do you notice this as well?
How can we raise the bar?



  1. James

    This is definitely something I see all the time, at church and everywhere. I understand wanting to feel good about our accomplishments, but sometimes that feeling of disappointment is what fuels us to do better next time. There are ways of letting volunteers, employees, and even ourselves know that the goal wasn’t accomplished without being harsh. Not everything can, nor should it be, a win.

  2. I think also when we “settle” for things at a certain level we miss so many blessings. Often the next level can only be achieved with a little more faith and trust. When we step beyond where we’ve placed the bar, I think God shows off and shows us things we never would have seen or believed could happen.

  3. Glad I ran across this. I’ve been thinking in this direction lately. I think the problem with some of us, myself included, is that we can’t even think big enough to raise the bar. We can’t blame it on lack of creativity when we have the power of the Holy Spirit, but we can blame it on all of the clutter we let get in the way of hearing Him. I appreciate your challenge.

  4. I sometimes wonder if there is even a bar in some places. You walk into churches or businesses and there is no sense of excellence in what they do, there is no drive to make a difference other than having a nice Sunday service. It seems status quo is the bar.

    We definitely need to raise the bar! Great post Jonathan.

  5. I have not noticed it but its a thought I have not thought about in a while. I think we are called to always raise the bar. Making success only a stepping stone to the next thing. I also think it each persons responsibility to raise the bar on their performance.

  6. Kristen

    We need to think less about just satisfying the people in our communities. We should set the bar so we go so far as to actually inspiring our friends and families. If we just get by, by coexisting in with the rest of our people, who will go and make the difference?


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