Mediocre and the Status Quo

Mike-Klockenbrink-bloggerWhen you think of mediocre, what comes to mind?

My first thought is that it’s “just OK.” It’s ordinary, or of moderate quality. It’s neither good nor bad. It’s barely adequate; just run-of-the-mill.

If you needed an operation, would you look for surgeon who’s mediocre? The same question applies if you were building your dream home — you wouldn’t shop for a mediocre contractor whose construction is of low quality or is second-rate. In either case, you’d want the best.

When you hear, “That’s just the status quo,” what does that actually mean?

Status quo is a Latin term meaning the existing state of affairs. It’s the sense that, “That’s how we operate around here.” Status quo is a commonly used form of the original Latin “statu quo” — literally, “the state in which.” To maintain the status quo is to keep the things the way they presently are.

So, let’s add mediocrity into the equation. “Everything we do is mediocre. That’s the status quo around here.”


How many of you have either worked in this type of an environment or visited a business with these standards? The answer is, too many.

You may not hear people say this, but there’s another phrase that applies here: status quo ante — “the state in which before,” or “the state of affairs that existed previously.” What people are actually saying here is:”I like the way things used to be. I like the old owners. Can’t we go back to the ‘good ole’ days’?”

So, when you look around your church, how much of the work being done is just mediocre? The answer should be none. I don’t think anyone really wants to come in to work and just do mediocre work. I heard a quote once: “Only the mediocre are at their best all of the time.”

What’s the opposite of status quo? Anti-status quo, which literally means “refusing to compromise with the status quo.” Things can’t remain the same, nor will they ever go back to the way they were. So, how are going to change your status quo?

Henry David Thoreau once said, “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”

So, if your goal is mediocre, you’ve probably already met it and have set your status quo. Mediocre should never be acceptable.

But, if your goal is excellence, you probably have some work to do in training and equipping your people. Let them know you have an anti-status quo. Invite them in to set the new status quo.

Mike Klockenbrink is chief of staff at Lakeside Church in Folsom, CA. Mike worked for W.W. Grainger Industrial Supply for 16 years in many different capacities. In January 2000, Mike quit climbing the corporate ladder and started climbing the Kingdom ladder. Klockenbrink can be reached at


One Response to “Mediocre and the Status Quo”

  1. Sean Hale

    Mike – Thank you for the article. It always lifts my spirits to hear other church professionals speak passionately about this topic.

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