We recently visited the Disney Store on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago. There was a ton of energy, lots of smiles and a great welcoming atmosphere. They asked us where we were from and how we were doing. The workers clapped, danced and sang as they walked around the store. It was quite festive and welcoming.
I have been in other Disney Stores that didn’t have that kind of energy. I began to wonder if being a successful store in a large big city prompted them to behave differently or if behaving differently caused them to become a big successful store in the midst of the city?
There may be someone who thinks, “yeah, it’s easy to be welcoming, energetic and over the top when you’re a big huge store in the city, but we’re just too small for that kind of thing.” It is true that momentum will create more willingness to take risks. But, still the question remains – which comes first? Does your situation make your style or does your style make your situation?
What implications does this question have for the church or for any organization?
In some ways, think big. Think big when you are involved in ministry! You don’t to have fancy buildings or huge budgets to be vibrant, healthy and alive. Live life in such a way that your walk with God is attractive to the community in which your congregation lives.
In other ways, think small. There’s no reason to ever become so large and successful that you forget about individuals. Talk with them. Find out about them. Make it a priority to work with, connect with and welcome guests every time you have the opportunity. That’s what it’s all about.
Live into it. I recently heard this phrase and thought it was a helpful way to think about how we can begin to change who we are as an organization. If the church doesn’t come across as friendly, caring and outreach focused here’s what you need to do: begin painting a big picture of what a friendly, caring and outreached focused church looks like and start living toward it.
Language creates reality. Your words, both printed and spoken, will shape the reality of your organization. What kind of culture are you creating? I recently read a great blog from JD Walt about how important it is to create the culture around us.
Every one follows the leader. If the leader is living it out, then the people will begin to do so. The day we visited the Disney Store in Chicago, I couldn’t tell which one of the employees was the leader or manager because all of them had caught the vision to help create a place that people felt welcome and comfortable. Without a leader modeling and teaching this, it just doesn’t happen.