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There are two businesses that I frequent on a regular basis. (And by “regular” I mean “compulsive.”) These are different businesses, with two different product lines, two different bottom lines.

Both businesses are great. Both are leaders in their industry. And the particular franchises I’m referring to? Well, they’re simply top notch.

But like all businesses, there are times (albeit infrequent) that there are missteps. Incorrect orders, inattentive employees, underwhelming experience.

Infrequent, although it happens. Sometimes.

But here’s the difference: when it does happen, there’s one business that I tend to be more forgiving of. One that I intentionally overlook the misstep, forgive the inattention, and know that the next experience will be better.

The reason? Relationship. At one business, I’m known. I’m on a first name basis with most of the employees. They know my regular order. They know my face. They know my family.

At the other, I’m…well…not known. I know a couple of employees, but not more than that. I recognize some of the regulars, but I don’t feel like a regular. And a lot of that is my fault. Before I grouse that they haven’t gotten to know me, I have to realize that I haven’t made a concerted effort to get to know them, either.

Both are great places. Both are staffed with great people. But it’s the relationship with one that sets it apart.

It works the same with our churches and our guest services teams. We’re more likely to forgive the inevitable missteps when we know the people doing the misstepping. It doesn’t excuse mistakes, but it does soothe mistakes. And that’s one of many reasons that relationships matter.

So what are you doing to facilitate relationships between your servant team and those they’re serving? I’d love to hear your success stories. Comment below.

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