The Church is the People – How is our Customer Service?

customer service repI found this to be an interesting, challenging and timely encouragement. This author mentions the concept of customer service, and relates it to our responsibility to be loving, gracious and helpful to others as part of having a warm, welcoming greeting to folks at church. Given our big outreach this weekend (as well as our regular ministry), and particularly Allen’s encouragement at the Gala meeting Tuesday night, I thought it would be good to pass along.

You can read the post with the funny photo at “The Blazing Center,” or just read the text of the post below.

The church can learn a thing or two from major corporations

For example, Jen and I were recently talking about the outstanding customer service offered by the company Land’s End. They are friendly, helpful, informative, and you don’t feel like they’re in a hurry to get you off the phone. In fact, Jen appreciates their customer service so much that she said, “Their customer service is so good that I wish I liked more of their products!”

When she said that my mind immediately went to my church.

The worship at our church isn’t incredible. I’m not Matt Redman or Chris Tomlin or Bob Kauflin, and my ability to lead our band is average.

Our sermons are biblically rooted expositional sermons, and we’re always trying to improve, but they’re nothing special. No one is making comparisons between us and John Piper or Matt Chandler.

Our facilities are average. At best. We don’t have a fancy sound system or a massive stage. Our children’s ministry is a bit crowded right now.

But there is one thing about our church that is outstanding: the people. Our church is full of the warmest, friendliest, most welcoming people on planet earth. Time and again I’ve heard guests say that what struck them the most about our church was how welcome they felt. Over the years my dad (the senior pastor) has made a concerted effort to create a culture of warmth and welcome, and that culture is noticeable the moment you walk in to church.

It seems like people are willing to overlook a lot of deficiencies as long as they feel welcome in a church. The sermons might not be the absolute best, but the people can be the most loving. The worship might not be on par with Matt Redman, but the welcome can be on par with Matt Redman’s church.

Now don’t misunderstand me, a church should always be built upon the preaching of God’s word, and the preaching of God’s word and biblical worship should never be traded for something else. Never.

But lots of smaller churches, like mine, don’t have the resources to build an incredible building or install a magnificent sound system. And us smaller churches are pastored by people like me, who have limited gifts. So my church can’t be Northpoint, or Mars Hill, or Bethlehem Baptist.

But we can be the most welcoming church around, and I think that goes a long way.


  1. Fred on August 19, 2010 at 7:45 am

    After working in the marketing & advertising industry for the past 10 years, there is always one thing that stands out in customer service that relates with this post. Customers often won’t remember the surroundings, the name of the store or the reason that they stop there, but they always remember how we made them feel when they visited us! Creating a warm, friendly and inviting place should be easy for us, because we have the perfect example of love to follow “Christ’s love for us”

  2. Allen Burns on August 20, 2010 at 8:29 am

    On one hand, we do not want to imitate the world and “market” Christianity. At the same time, because we live in a consumer driven society, it is impossible to have people leave their preconceived notions of customer service at the parking lot entranceway. Let’s face it, right or wrong, the general public arrive with expectations.

    Our response to these expectations need not be driven and motivated by marketing or other “please the consumer so they come back” approaches. Rather, our response can be fully founded on the Word of God. Scripture is filled with encouragement to love others, prefer others, be hospitable to others, to greet one another, and so forth. In doing this, we are walking in the Spirit and not in the flesh. With those that God’s Spirit is working with, they will see with their spiritual eyes and ears a sense that they belong to the “Body.”

    Right now, it seems that people in the area recognize the building of our church as the distinguishing feature. Imagine if people start referring to us more as the people that are extremely loving, caring, open, and humble and the barn becomes an after-thought.

    Thanks for the post Brian!

  3. Brian Sayers on August 20, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Good word Allen,..appreciate the balance, and pointing us to the biblical principles of love and kindness that should shape and motivate our actions.


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