I can’t help but think of the church as I’m reading Leading at a Higher Level by Ken Blanchard. The stories of turning customers into “raving fans” are inspiring and powerful. I understand that the church is a unique, supernatural institution and that God’s Spirit can work in mighty ways even in our lack of organization. I also understand the pitfalls of comparing a church to a business. But, there’s also good reason to sharpen our ministries – so let’s take a closer look.
Are you – as a church member – more of a customer or an employee? Customers shop, they receive, they are served, helped, assisted with an end goal of being satisfied with a product or service. Employees help the customer. They put the customer first. No matter the job of the employee, the end result should always be a vision to provide something for the customer.
What if the whole church had a mindset of being an employee?
What if every member looked at themselves as the front line to customer service?
What if every member considered it their obligation and role to help serve each customer (those that don’t currently attend church) with an empowered and energetic heart for turning them into “raving fans” of Christians, the church and Jesus?
Is serving the customer an ongoing thing – or only on Sunday mornings?
Church leaders should think of every church member as an employee – empowering them to be the church. Church leadership and staff serve the employees (the internal customers – church members) and the employees are challenged, empowered, and invited to be the front line service to the community.
Church staff need to model this kind of service, but church leadership can really get bogged down if they believe their main job is to be, on behalf of the church, the sole community connection and face of the organization. The goal of church staff is to serve, equip and support the employees / members.
In this model – the pyramid is flipped upside down and the customer service is really accomplished by the bulk of the people – not just the leaders. The leaders (the small part of the pyramid) are responsive to the needs of their employees as they serve in the community. (Diagram from Leading at a Higher Level, Blanchard, Page 51).
It’s not a matter of church members becoming worker bees, while church pastors and leaders sit back and enjoy the time off – it’s a full time job plus some to empower, equip and encourage employees to take customer service seriously.
Here are three characteristics church members need to see themselves as front line servants in customer service:
1) Church members need worthwhile work. Christians are stewards of the greatest mission in all of history, yet we often see our role as so small. From the tiniest tasks to the largest ministries organizations – each Christian is involved in worthwhile work. We must help our people discover this.
2) Church members must be in control of achieving results. When people know why they are serving and where they (and the rest of the organization) are going with it, they show up and bring everything they have to the table.
3) Church members must cheer each other on. To generate energy, church members need to encourage each other. When one person is accomplishing great outreach and customer service, others ought to notice, encourage and celebrate! Celebrate the stories of reaching out and going over the top to turn an unchurched person into a Christ follower.
Church members are not customers. They have stepped up to join the ranks of the front lines customer service teams. Of course even employees gain the satisfaction of knowing that things are going well, they are filled up, and they are excited to be a part of the organization. But, ultimately, as a church member, you are the witness to the community, to your home and to your neighbors. Go out of your way to build bridges, seek peace and “wow” those around with the love of Jesus. Jesus himself came to seek and save the lost. I think that’s a good model for all of us who follow him.
Pick up a copy of Leading at a Higher Level, Revised and Expanded Edition: Blanchard on Leadership and Creating High Performing Organizations (Anytime you use these links to purchase, you help Harvest Ministry!)