Even now, with Illumine Church still <1 year old, it has happened a couple of times.
We've (and as the pastor, I've) focused on the means as though they were the end. Things like scheduling and sound set up have been the goals of a day, and the real goals, engaging saints in service and communicating Christ as clearly as possible, were never considered.
This isn't to say that those real goals weren't accomplished. It also isn't to suggest that we shouldn't work at improving our ministries. It's to say that contrary to the philosophy of Miley Cyrus (think "The Climb") and countless other songwriters, the climb doesn't trump the summit. The toil and the challenges are worthless if there isn't an overall goal to what we do.
This is especially true for Christians, because we realize that our actions have eternal consequences. Nobody you meet, nobody you have a chance to serve, is a mere mortal. They will be around forever, either for better or for worse. When you start seeing people this way, you start understanding why it is the end, not the means, that matters.
The music, no matter how well done, is garbage if it isn't done so we can love better. The sermons are worthless if they aren't delivered with love and if they don't move us to respond with love. Even the sacraments (Baptism and Holy Communion) are nothing but a means toward an end, and their goal is to give grace.
Let's not care if we have the best worship service in town. Let's care if people experience the love of God through our actions, through the Word of God, and through everything else that comes together to make our service. Let's not care if we've got a great bunch of people who get together. Let's care if those get-togethers lead to deeper connections, more decisive actions, and a greater impact on our community.
If we can't start looking at things that way, we're only fooling ourselves. Do we really think we can make something so good, so nice, so well-executed that a perfect God is going to be impressed? Is Jesus, who has lived heaven and suffered hell and risen from death going to think our talents are impressive in themselves or our cleverness is neat on its own?
He's told us what he values. He's told us what makes our stuff interesting to him. It is simply and only love. Coming from faith, driving toward hope, love is God's currency.
And my, oh my, did he ever put his money where his mouth was when it came to Easter. May God help you value what's valuable as you do his work, inspired by his generosity. Make whatever you do a means to the end that is love.