I had a new experience yesterday when I stopped at a restaurant to grab some lunch. After speaking to some fellow church members who were sitting at a table waiting for their food to arrive, I walked to the counter to place my order. That’s when it happened.
No one was standing behind the counter. Suddenly a young woman, who appeared rushed and stressed, asked me if I had placed my order yet. I said “no” and expected her to tell me she’d take care of it. Instead she told me they weren’t taking any more orders. I joking responded, “Is the place closing?” She answered, “No, we’re just way backed up with orders and aren’t taking any more right now. I’m sorry!” What was I supposed to do? So I simply replied, “OK, thanks. I’ll go somewhere else to eat” and left.
The restaurant business is tough. If one or two employees unexpectedly don’t show up for work that day, service suffers. In the past I’ve had slow service, bad service, rude service – but never no service.
Since I’ve eaten at this particular restaurant several times in the past and always good experiences, I’ll go back and eat there again. They won’t lose my business over this one bad experience. But…another experience like the one yesterday and I’m likely to stop frequenting their place of business.
I can only imagine my reaction if yesterday had been my first visit there. It would have been a very negative first impression. I would not have any good history to compensate for this one bad experience. The likelihood is I would never go there again for lunch.
What about church?
What happens when guests show up and we aren’t ready to serve them? They show up for Sunday School and no one is there to greet them. The room is empty and the lights aren’t even turned on. The class starts 15 minutes late. What impression does that make?
What happens when guests show up and no one is in the parking lot, at the entrances, or in the lobby to greet them and answer their questions? What happens when they enter the worship center, sit down and no one speaks to them for them next 15 minutes? What happens when the service ends and they walk to their car without anyone thanking them for coming and inviting them to come again next Sunday? What impression does that make?
One person not showing up for duty on Sunday hurts. One person showing up late hurts.
We’re not in the restaurant business. We’re in the eternal business of saving souls. Let’s show up and do God’s work with passion, enthusiasm and faith that God is using us to make a difference. Let’s show up and always be ready to serve those God brings our way.
Pastor Steve Hogg