On Sunday I visited what may be The Cleanest Church In America.  Oh sure, they wouldn’t capitalize themselves in that hoity-toity way, but in their heart of hearts they know it’s true.  Clements Baptist Church in Athens, Alabama, is as neat as a pin.  If they were a TV character, they’d be that Oscar guy from The Odd Couple.  Or maybe Felix.  Honestly, I’m too young to remember.

But what impressed me about Clements was their attention to detail.  The lobby was immaculate.  The auditorium was spotless.  The bathrooms smelled good, looked good, and flushed well.  It was a veritable toiletry triumvirate.

I didn’t poll any of the church members or leaders (my bride glazes over when I start talking shop while on vacation), but I’d bet that Clements adheres to the “Second Look” principle.  This principle, which I made up just one sentence ago, is what sets churches, business, and customer service models apart from everyone else.  It’s the second glance that helps you see what you missed in the first.  It’s the over-the-shoulder review that highlights what would have gone unnoticed.

The second look helps you catch the gum wrapper on the sidewalk.

The second look means that you know there are paper towels in the dispenser you used, as well as the other dispensers in the restroom.

The second look means that a guest doesn’t go without a greeting.

The second look sees the smudge, smells the odor, notices the locked door, and replaces the burned-out light bulb.

The second look takes intention.  It takes practice.  It takes a continual commitment to making sure that this week’s quality matches or surpasses last week’s standard.

Get in the habit of taking a second look.  Because chances are, your guests already have.