What I've been thinking and what I've been reading for you to compare notes.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Product and Service and Church

I just got back to my study. Went about a half a block to a local Subway sandwich shop to get lunch.

It bugs me that the same lady who is there every time I patronize the shop still doesn't accept the fact that I will not pay for a sandwich made with the heels of the tomato. She'll put the slice of the tomato with the stem still showing (can anyone eat those?) on the sandwich and I'll say, "Please don't leave that on my sandwich," and then she'll change it. It's like a game we play.

Its funny because she knows I'm standing right there watching. How much money is Subway going to lose worldwide if they don't try to pass off the heels of tomatoes on their sandwiches? And why do they have a glass where you can watch your sandwich being made "the way you like it" if they don't expect you to watch?

Now I'm not spouting off on the web about tomatoes. Well I guess I am, but I'm not spouting off JUST about tomatoes. This whole scenario makes me think of the quality of service and product in the church.

I try my best to make the quality of my teaching and preaching worth people's time. I really want to pray and study hard to make the Word of God practical and encouraging to those who hear it. (Not like the pastor of one church Deb and I attended while at college where the pastor got up on Wednesday night and for his teaching read from a daily devotional guide and then dismissed with prayer. I wanted to stand up and say, "I invested my time and the gas in my car coming across town for this?")

I know a faulty piece of tomato or brown lettuce winds up in my sermons once in a while but its not on purpose. Sometimes I'm distracted by things going on in the congregation and I can't keep my concentration on what I'm saying. And it's always difficult for a pastor to look at the seats of where a certain family sits every week and notice those seats are empty and you don't know where they are. Are they sick? Are they discouraged? Have they become indifferent to spiritual things? Did they have another family fight?

It takes a tremendous amount of mental discipline to stay focused sometimes. That's why I try to ask people to do their best to remember that guests will see these "heels of the tomato" in the worship gatherings and they might be distracted from true worship.

Besides the preaching and teaching and the atmosphere of the worship gathering, there's the music and the child care and the greeting of guests, the care and cleaning of the facilities and the church grounds - all of which should represent the very best for those who come for the product and services that the church offers.

I must admit that when I think about it all sometimes it is a daunting task.

George Barna defines leadership as "the process of motivating, mobilizing, resourcing, and directing people to passionately and strategically pursue a vision from God that a group jointly embraces." (From "A Fish Out of Water")

That is a big job description. God please help me.


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