February 2010

When training our newbies on the First Impressions Team, I always tell them that their primary commitment on the weekend is to new friends, not old ones.  That’s why we’re a church that’s gathered and scattered…we gather weekly to worship, hear the word proclaimed, and welcome new guests.  We scatter to get with our friends that we “do life with” in small groups.

It’s in the scattering that the “Hey how are ya what’s new in life” conversations should take place.

But on the weekends – especially for those working in First Impressions – it’s all about the guests.  My wife has flat ignored me many Sunday mornings as she’s greeting new people.  I’ve had team leaders drop me like a hot potato when a new face was close by.  And all that is just fine with me.

The point?  Friendships matter.  But new friendships matter more when we’re talking about the corporate gathering on the weekend.  Use your small group to go deep, to get into each other’s lives.  Use the weekend to explore new relationships and to make a stranger a friend.


The “Topical Tuesdays” comments are going strong!  Enter the conversation and set the tone for the weeks to come by commenting here.

Chick-Fil-A is the undisputed customer-experience king in the fast food world.  Any Chick-Fil-A.  Any employee.  Any day…you’re going to get a high-quality experience.

“Um, yeah.  I have this coupon for a free chicken sandwich, but it’s for another Chick-Fil-A across town.  Is it okay if I use it here?”

Absolutely.  It’s my pleasure.

“And I should probably mention that it expired in 2004.  Still okay?”

My pleasure.

“And instead of a chicken sandwich I want a Quarter Pounder with Cheese.”

My pleasure.

Chick-Fil-A wants me to have it my way.  (You hear that, creepy plastic-headed King?  I’m talkin’ to you.)  And they’ll do whatever it takes for me to have it my way.  Accept another coupon that’s “exclusive” to another CFA unit?  Not a problem.  Change the actual item the coupon is for?  Sure thing.  And they do it with a smile on their face every time.  Every.  Single.  Time.

We have some Chick-Fil-A managers at the Summit, and I’ve asked them, “What’s the secret?”  Their answer:

Mind control and hallucinogenic drugs administered by Truett Cathy.

Actually, that’s not true at all.  What is true is that the “My pleasure” culture is ingrained from the first days at the chicken kingdom.  The customer’s experience is key.  The employee is there to serve, not to be served.  In his 1989 book It’s Easier to Succeed Than to Fail, Cathy recounts an interview that his son Dan granted to Business Atlanta. Dan said that “The pure and simple bottom line…is a commitment to people…The restaurants are simply the vehicles by which we serve that purpose.”

If you’re a pastor, people are – in a way – your business.  While Jesus is the one we serve, people are the ones we connect back to Jesus.  If we dismiss people as necessary evils of our kingdom work, we betray our motivations as being something other than the gospel to which we’re called.

Is serving people your pleasure?  Is your church, your ministries, your programming and end to themselves, or do they serve as vehicles to introduce people to Jesus?

No, I didn’t say tropical Tuesdays, although in this frigid climate that would be nice too.

And I also don’t mean topical Tuesdays, as in, “Apply liberally three times daily until rash subsides.”  Although if that’s what you’re looking for, I’ll pray for you.  But no laying on of hands.

I said Topical Tuesdays.  For the next few weeks, you’re going to pick the topic.

Editor’s Note: Hold on, isn’t this a shameless ripoff of your boss’s “Ask Anything Fridays”?

Not exactly, because I’m pretty sure that I introduced this idea a few months ago…November 11, 2009, in fact.  And he didn’t intro the Ask Anything on his blog until SIX DAYS later (November 17, 2009).  So, who’s the ripoff now, huh?

Editor’s Note: Fair enough.  But it seems to me that I never actually saw you answer any of the questions you were asked.

Details, details.  And yes, I’ll include those questions in our new Topical Tuesdays forum.  But good grief, let’s stay on target.  Tell me what you want to know about or talk about in the realm of…

  • First impressions
  • Covenant church membership
  • Pastoral ministry
  • Anything else

Ready?  Go.  Comment below and tune in next Tuesday for Topic #1.

Too chicken to comment?  E-mail me.

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