My students were given an assignment to write a paragraph sharing information, first with a friend and then a potential employer to see a contrast in the way we write for different audiences. When faced with a potential opportunity for employment, we put our best foot forward in an effort to make a good impression. Just the other day we were discussing how visitors might perceive our church, and I was struck with the idea that I often put forth more of an effort where I work than I do in church. For example, I work in a yarn shop on Saturdays, and I always try to greet new customers so that they feel welcome and will be repeat customers. Our goal is that all customers will feel as though they are friends and can stop by any time to chat, knit, or share a problem. We consider ourselves a community, and we want all to feel welcome and keep coming back to shop there. I wonder if we have the same thoughtfulness when it comes to church.
In the yarn shop, I am a customer service representative of the shop, the face of the business. The way I interact with people determines whether they come back or not. In church, the members are the face of our “business,” so to speak. In a way we are God’s customer service representatives. How we interact with visitors and nonbelievers may determine whether or not they are repeat customers. Do we make them feel welcome? Do we make them want to come back again? Do we make them want what we have?
It behooves us to take a closer look at the way we “do” church. Do we put out our best effort on Sundays, or do we just interact with the same people? Do we greet visitors with more than a quick handshake, or do we learn their names and something about them? Do we want them to come back, or are we comfortable with our little group as it is? Colossians 3:23 says, “23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” This is never more true than when we are in His house. We often forget that the church belongs to Christ and we are merely his hands and feet in the world, the face the world sees. If we were to get a review from a new “customer”, what would it say?