I don’t particularly like my grocery store. It’s a sad, kind of dirty place with no-so-helpful workers. Whatever. It’s cheap and close and that’s about all that matters. After all, it’s just a grocery store.
Then I went and ruined it. The other day I went into a Harris Teeter for the first time in a while. Wow! The aisles are wider, they have trays of meats and cheeses to sample, and I’m pretty sure they were playing Pharrell Williams song, “Happy” on repeat over the speakers. Then I went to pay and EVERYTHING was so much more expensive! Strangely, I didn’t mind. It was worth it to shop in a place that worked so hard to be special. I didn’t feel like it was “just a grocery store”. It was obvious they put a lot of thought into making my experience something great.
It’s really easy for churches to settle and take it easy on customer service. After all, the people are there for a sermon, some music, and maybe some coffee. Everything else is superfluous.
But not really.
No one shows up to church thinking, “I REALLY hope they have an awesome duo in the parking lot!” or “I don’t know about you, but I’m going in to check out their awesome powerpoint workers!”. Likewise, once people leave they don’t give a second thought about the men and women to take out their trash and clean the place up for next week.
I’ve seen that building before it gets cleaned. Trust me…it may be a “little thing”, but it’s a little thing that makes a HUGE difference. Especially when you add all those little things up.
The food at Harris Teeter is the same stuff I get from the place that’s near my house. They feel different however, not because of the product, but because of the packaging. We have great music and sermons at Awestruck. I’d put them up against any church in the city. The thing is, if our cleaners don’t pick up the trash from last week, if our our parking lot team ignores folks walking in, if our powerpoint guy is putting up slides with lyrics to Taylor Swift’s “Style” when we are in the middle of “How can it be” then it undermines the quality of everything else.
Convenience is a powerful thing. After all, I don’t shop regularly at the Teeter b/c it’s just a little too far out of my way. But I am more and more aware of what I’m missing, and I don’t like it. Eventually I may even make a change.
When it comes to church, how much sooner will folks move on from what is convenient if there is something special happening just a little bit farther away.
I’m always encouraged when I remember that we have some folks driving to church that live 20, 30, even 40 minutes away. They pass by dozens of churches on their way to Awestruck. Why? The sermon…the music? Yea, that’s part of it. The people? Certainly! But I think that there is even more to it than that. I’ve heard a million times, “There is just something special about this church”.