Your PeoplePosted May 07th 2013 @ 9:39 am by Jerod
Your people make a difference. Pastors, staff, volunteers and your entire congregation represent your church in the community. The words they say and the way they act communicate something about who you are as an organization. When others interact with them, they are forming an opinion about your church based on those people, even if they’ve never visited your building, or seen your brochure or website.
A damaged tree in my front yard really enforced this idea that any single person can influence your opinion about an entire organization. You see, in my front yard there are two, huge, 100-year-old maple trees. Whenever a branch falls, it’s never a small matter. Over the years, we’ve lost big chunks in storms. But recently on a random, calm, clear-skied evening, my wife and I were greeted with a huge fallen branch blocking our garage. It’s bigger than what we could handle alone, so we needed help.
That night people from three different organizations were in my yard.
First, a guy from a locally owned tree service came by to take a look. Jim was talkative for sure, but he was great. He took the time to look over the tree and explain what could be done to help its overall health. But then he did something you wouldn’t expect from a company looking to make money. Jim was insistent about checking to see if the tree was on city property before we dropped a single dime (or committed to thousands of dollars in trimming costs).
Jim’s question about tree ownership led to a call to the city. Would you believe the police came to do the measuring of where the city’s breezeway ends? Would you find it odd that three police cars showed up? It led to plenty of jokes from my neighbors. And honestly, when I saw those three police cars, some fairly sarcastic thoughts ran through my mind. In general, I don’t have a lot of love for my city services. Do taxpayers ever really feel like they’re getting their money’s worth?
But those three officers could not have been nicer. Not only were they helpful, but also they were good people. They were sympathetic and just hung out for a little bit to chat and be neighborly. I have far more respect for the city today than before this experience.
The third group to stop was a crew from another tree trimming company. My wife had a great conversation with the owner on the phone. He was helpful and tried to redirect a crew to stop by our house on their way home from another job. But the guys who showed up weren’t friendly. They criticized us for not taking care of our trees and quoted us an outrageous price. What a difference those guys made on our impression of the company! The service that started out as the front-runner in our minds became the one we felt ill about doing business with.
I’m sharing this story not just for my personal writing therapy over spending lots of money on tree trimming, but because it’s a prime example of how anyone can represent your church at any moment.
That’s why it’s so important to cast the vision of your church. Do it often. Train volunteers on how your vision is expressed in the way they serve. Talk to your congregation about how they share that vision with people in their lives. Enforce it with your staff and let them know the importance of working to fulfill that vision. It’s valuable because you don’t want to miss an opportunity to share your church in a way that positively and truly reflects your church and its culture.