Sometimes — too many times — those who are seeking to build a ministry do not take the time to reflect on what causes us and others to frequent, hire, and/or employ various businesses. Such reflection will prove to be invaluable!
I remember going to the dentist for an early morning appointment to have an expensive cap put on one of my front teeth. That evening the phone rang, and it was the dentist asking if everything is feeling okay — REALLY — he took the time to call and ask. He was already paid for the whole procedure! It wasn’t like I planned to have more work done shortly. — “I am doing fine doc and thank you for taking the time to call.” — WOW — Who takes the time to call these days! But it made me feel good about spending all that money! I believe he was sincere in his interest, BUT . . . .
Even if he was not sincere, he is smart!
He was my dentist for the next 35 years, and he and his office staff knew all the names of my children and asked about them at every visit. They even knew when they had graduated and where they were as they grew up and moved away from home. In fact, one time I asked them — “Do you have all that information in your computer and pop it up on the screen when you look at the appointments for the day.” They deflected the question and just commented on their interest in the children over the years.
When events like that happened while dealing with the business world, I would come back to the church and school office and say, “We need to be as good as the business world is at dealing with people.” There was rarely a time when I was not reminded of how serious businesses are about reaching and keeping customers that I did not implement some kind of change in how we operated in both the church and our K-8 school.
In fact, I developed a saying over the years . . . . “Some people who operate a hot dog cart are more interest in, and wiser about selling hot dogs than some of God’s leaders are in operating a local church” — It is not a saying which finds its origin with me. I just added the hot dog part. — Luke 16:8 — The men of this world are wiser than some of God’s people.
I have come to realize over the years that two of the most basic reasons (not the only reasons) people connect with a business are . . . .
You do business with them because of your relationship with them and/or you really like the product!
There are some places I frequent because I know the people and have a pleasant relationship with them. They know me, and I know them. It may be the business owner, the service personnel, the waiter-waitress, or it may even be the others who also go there.
I believe that is why people stay in churches they should have left long ago, when the doctrinal slide away from Scripture was already taking place.
Likewise, there are good churches that people attend, primarily because of the relationships. The doctrine is sound. The preaching and teaching are good. There is better, but the attraction is relationships.
Have you ever listened to a pastor from a fairly large church and thought — “His preaching is average. It’s okay, but not that outstanding. What is that has drawn so many people to that church ministry?” If I am the only one who has thought that, then the next point will be missed.
It is not the preaching as much as it is the relational skills which mark the leadership and staff! The relational elements of a pastor(s), the youth leader with our “teens,” and/or “others who also go there” are what make it a satisfying experience. A genuinely warm, and “interested in you” atmosphere is what attracts people.
There are pastors who I got to know to this day who still stick in my heart because of the relationship THEY had with my children and me. We named one of our children after Dr. Wendell Kempton because of his personal relationship with us. I taught Stan and Wendy Kempton at BBC-Clarks Summit, and we named our daughter “Wendy” because of that personal relationship!
This is not a relationship site, but a public speaking and preaching daily blog. I am sure there are those who are far better than me when it comes to discussing the dynamics which operate in building and maintaining relationships.
I do know this after years of preaching — when I felt like I really missed the mark after preaching a message, as I was making my way down the aisle towards the back door of the auditorium to greet people at the end of the service, I thought . . . .
“Well, I blew the meal, but I still have time to let the customers that I am genuinely interested in them and what is happening in their lives — so don’t let the failure at the meal distract you from being warm and encouraging to the customers.”
Can you build a church on just the pulpit?
My answer is, “ALMOST.”
That is not to say that relationships do not matter, nor does it mean that you cannot blow-up the pulpit ministry. But it does mean that . . . .
People are attracted to a good meal even when the place is not that attractive, or they don’t know the owner, cooks, waiter-waitresses, servers, or meet others who also go there.
At the end of the day, people want a GREAT MEAL!
People will line up at the door, wait for an hour or more, arrive early, spend a lot of money, be excited when they are finally seated, leave a good tip, talk about the place to others, return — when they know that they will get and have gotten a GREAT meal!
THAT IS WHY . . . .
√ constantly improving one’s communication skills matters
√ variety, change, movement, color matter
√ changing up the way you preach and/or go about a message is important
√ better speaking requires always learning
√ WORDS matter – you are a wordsmith!
√ a realistic evaluation of your speaking skill is essential
√ listening to other speakers is consequential
√ a public speaking must reflect some of the changes which mark a changing era
√ having fellow speakers around you and inputting ideas is so valuable
√ homiletics class is not enough
√ people read this-or-that author’s books — no relationship, they are just good
√ you must not equate time spent in the kitchen with a good meal
√ “culinary school”, and continuing education plays a significant role
If you build a pulpit, they will come! — ALMOST!
That is why articles, blogs, and books on preaching matter.
That is why listening to other good, and great speakers has consequential value.
That is why rhetorical theory dates back to the classics with such men as Aristotle, Plato, Cicero, Quintilian.
That is why the rhetorical theory of the 1600 & 1700’s was primarily written by preachers.
That is why public speaking has the power to move people, movements, and nations.