A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away I was a youth pastor. One of the main themes in ministry at that time was calling everyone (even 13 year olds) to be exceptional Christians. Sad to say, we may have created a mindset that was less than exceptional as we focused on correct behavior rather than teaching them about absolute dependence on Jesus and the Cross. We may have inadvertently communicated that God only really blesses the ones that are well beyond ordinary.
Even today we minister in a world that is pressured and competitive. Only the best are considered “good enough” whether they are kids or adults. We have to prove ourselves, or earn our way to significance. Of course this is counter to the very things that should mark our church and ministries … we should strive to make sure that acceptance isn’t something that is earned. Our youth groups need to be places where we don’t measure by sports, grades, or popularity … or even by spiritual behavior – especially “excellent” spiritual behavior. The same goes for our ministry to adults. We should be ready and willing and engaged in ministry to those who are stark raving average. Not just the “winners” (or losers for that matter) should be our target or the ones we value. Jesus seemed to be absolutely crazy about average people. His church should be as well.
That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t call people to heroism – to a challenge that is “beyond” them – just that for most it will still be heroism in the daily things of life. And that is OK.