Sunday, July 20, 2008

Do you want my money?

I just got back from an evening trip to a supermarket where they don't accept credit cards. As a primarily-plastic kind of guy, I always feel a bit of stress as I fill up the basket. I typically have no cash and don't even know where my wife keeps our checks, so if my card fails me, I'm out of luck. Today as I was shopping, I was chatting on the phone and heard the tail end of an announcement saying "we will only be accepting cash, check and [muffled noises]". I begin to wonder what that muffled option was, hoping the debit services hadn't gone down. Just as I was about to unload my cart, I asked the cashier if they were accepting debit, and she said "no". Eying my cart full of goods, I asked "sooo, do you know when it will be working again?". "No" was her ever-helpful response. She then proceeded to ask if I had cash or a check, which I found annoying (would I really ask about debit if I had a wad of cash in my pocket?). I said no, returned all the cold items to where they needed to go, and left.

I recognize that this experience itself wasn't the fault of the supermarket, as they most likely hire a company to provide the debit service, but it touched on something I have been noticing more and more lately.

I'm having a really hard time spending my money.

It's not that there aren't things I want to buy anymore. It just seems that I am being presented more hurdles than I remember. Which brings us to communications.

Any organization or business needs revenue to survive. If you have convinced people to buy your product, but make it so hard to complete the transaction, you will lose business. The causes that I have experienced recently include: bad service, employees not knowing where inventory is, know knowing anything about the inventory, not having the inventory, or not being able to take money if it isn't cash. All of these are hurdles preventing a successful sale, not to mention establish a negative perception of the company. There are certain places I simply won't go to for certain things anymore. Its a sad day for a company when the consumer is willing to not purchase something they want because of the company selling it makes the process so difficult.

The same applies for communication in the church. The principal is very basic, and applies to just about every form of communications, but it is crucial to view things from the consumers perspective. Who is your consumer? Is it a young church or an old church? Are you focused on bringing in those tho don't know Christ, or developing those who do to be more effective ministers? These questions, and others like them must be asked every time a decision is made. If we lose sight of the flocks we are supposed to lead, we will not them well.

** A note with regards to this topic: **

It is crucial to understand the church that God has called you to be. The biggest mistake you can make is to say "Famous Church does it this way, so should we". Yes, we can glean a lot from the 'famous' churches in terms of ministry practices, but the reason they are successful is because they reach the people God has called them to reach. They don't do what they do because everyone else does it, or because it is neat. They do it because they have determined it to be the most effective way to reach those that God has called them to reach. Be willing to take the risks that will help you reach your flock most effectively, not the ones that are trendy or attractive. The Good News stands the test of time, style, and trends.

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