Every Life Has a Story (Inspiration from @chickfila)
Full Disclosure: I love Chick-Fil-A. I love their sandwiches, their nuggets, their sweet tea, biscuits, and their milkshakes are out of this world! I was thrilled when Campbellsville University got a Chick-Fil-A on campus. I love Chick-Fil-A. It's more than just their excellent food that I love about Chick-Fil-A though. I love their approach to customer service; to excellence from the moment you step foot on the parking lot to the time you step back into your car. I love that they give me the impression that they care about my kids while I'm there. (As a parent, ignore me all day long and pay attention to my kids and I'm hooked. If you're a parent, I suspect you know what I mean.)
I watched this video this week that Chick-Fil-A made for their own team members that was a call to remember who they are there for:
You are probably aware that the people behind Chick-Fil-A are Christians. They don't hide it, nor do they rub it in your face (another reason I love Chick-Fil-A). As I watched this video I wondered if Chick-Fil-A isn't more like the church should be than the church is, at times. Chick-Fil-A strives to make constantly remind their team members of who they are there to serve, that each person is more than an obstacle to the end of your shift, but a human being who has a life experience and a story to tell. That person who is a total grouch and unpleasant has a story behind his grouchiness. In church world we often focus on the other team members, most of the time we focus on one primary team member...ourself. We focus on what we like, what we don't like, what is inconveniencing us, etc. We, and I mean we because I am included here, often overlook those not on the team when they walk through our doors, when they cross our paths elsewhere, preferring rather to socialize with the other team members.
Imagine walking into a restaurant where all the staff couldn't pay attention to the customer because they were so busy talking with themselves! I bet you wouldn't come back, would you? Me either. Honestly, I probably wouldn't stick around to see how long it would take for them to notice me.
You know where I'm going with this don't you? I am reminded of Matthew 9:36:
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
1. Jesus saw the crowds. So often, I don't even notice people.
2. Jesus had compassion on them.
If we don't keep at the forefront of our minds why we are here (individually, and as a congregation): "to lead people to Jesus Christ and to a growing relationship with Him" we will miss out. Someone will be your mission: others or you. When we lose sight of our mission we turn inward and we no longer see. We no longer see past our own circles, our own desires.
I don't want to be a restaurant that serves only themselves. I want to be like Chick-Fil-A, a company that sees value in their customers beyond the money they will contribute to the bottom line. I want to be a place where all people, especially "outsiders" feel welcomed, appreciated, encouraged, engaged, and most of all loved.
I want the Church to be a place unlike any earthy organization. I want us to look at the world, not with disdain and discouragement, but with compassion. I want us to see each individual as a person with a story, realizing that they are part of a larger story that God is telling in their lives; a story they may not even realize that God is telling and that we -- you and I -- get to be a part, even if it is a small part, of that story God is telling through their life.
That's enough for now...I gotta find some nuggets.