• Ron Gladden



I hate the word “mediocre”. That word bothers me more than any other.

Why? No little girl ever imagines she will marry a mediocre prince. No little boy ever dreams he will be a mediocre firefighter. No one ever dreams they will climb up half of a mountain. But that is exactly what mediocre means. Its Latin roots actually mean “halfway up a mountain”. (Sorry, but it’s the pastor in me that has to go back to the original text to discover the true meaning.)

When I gave my heart to the Lord after being an atheist for years, I came back to a church that was mediocre. I was on fire for the Lord, though, so I didn’t notice at first. I would strike up a conversation about God and there would be no excitement on the other side. I kept wondering why I was so excited and they weren’t. Hadn’t they, too, been transformed? I was sure of it. I heard their stories, but they just didn’t tell them with enthusiasm. I didn’t know it then, but I was discovering an important evangelistic principle: Share, or live in despair.

That might seem harsh, but I think it’s true. God gave to us and asks that we do the same as His disciples. There are certain church structures that discourage sharing our faith. They temper the passion we have by centralizing the resources that help mobilize our efforts to share. In this type of system, we tend to feel we are sharing our faith by proxy.

In my years as a business professional, as well, I have seen mediocrity. It creeps in and destroys companies from the inside out. Imagine if we could quantify the amount of productivity and ingenuity lost from people and organizations deciding that halfway up the mountain was just fine. I think God’s established method for reaching people deserves better than that.

My philosophy for evangelism of the local church is influenced mostly by Jesus’s declaration and promise that “the gates of hell will not prevail.” He has given us the victory; we just need to walk into it. In this case, get up and hike the rest of the way up the mountain.

My philosophy on the local church looks like this:

  • If it works, it works. Praise God! Let’s work it.

  • If it doesn’t, let’s fix it. Ask God! Whatever we need to do, let’s get it fixed.

  • If it’s broke and you don’t want to fix it, goodbye. God, have mercy on you! Mediocrity has no place in the church.

Jesus promised us that “the gates of hell will not prevail.” This is not a calm message. I know. I joined a Mission Catalyst church in its third year, and it was tough. In fact, it didn’t make it. We went out fighting, and that is okay. Michael Jordan says it best: “I can accept failure; everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” God has planted a seed deep down in my heart to keep trying.


Would you be excited to tell people about all the goals you accomplished halfway? Would you march into the office of your boss or board members and brag about the sales target you hit halfway? Would you be okay with mediocre service? How about telling your spouse that he or she looks mediocre? You wouldn’t.

This is my appeal to you in support of Mission Catalyst. God never meant for us to be mediocre. Sin brought in a fear of pushing beyond what we know. Jesus gave us the victory over fear. I have attended a Mission Catalyst Planting Team Assessment and visited Epikos Church in Vancouver, Washington. I have joined the staff retreats of the Epikos leadership and sat in on their twice-weekly meetings. They are not about fear; they are about getting our churches to the top of the mountain as Jesus promised.

In fact, my family and I are praying about joining the team at Epikos.


Will you prevail with Mission Catalyst in planting churches that aren’t afraid to fail and won’t stop halfway up the mountain? Those are the kind of churches we need. Churches that won’t stop halfway for fear, complacency, tradition, or any other reason. Put on your hiking shoes, grab your gear, and join us as we push up the mountain.

P.S. We could not do what we do without people like you. We appreciate your financial support. Thank you for helping Mission Catalyst create healthy, unselfish, growing churches! Click here to give.



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PO Box 873520
Vancouver WA 98687