Are We Providing Hurdles or Open Doors?

(Throwback Thursday :: This post originally published 4/08)

How easy is it for your “customers” to go deeper in their relationship with your organization? Are opportunities to get even more involved and committed intentionally accessible? Not just the get-’em-in-the-door type of intentional, but what about for those already on board?

I just spent [versus invested] a pretty painful amount of time trying to upgrade my Comcast subscription. No dice through my online account [which should have giant “upgrade today” buttons, but alas, no], so I bit the bullet and called the 800 number. Got halfway through the endless prompts aaaand had my call dropped. Tried again, waded through more prompts, sat on hold & finally connected to a service representative. She was friendly and got me set up, at which point the Internet in my bundled service immediately goes down. More teleprompts & disconnected calls.. lather, rinse, repeat. I was so sorry I tried to upgrade.

Contrast this experience to one with a Sirius telemarketer who called earlier today— I had a 3 month subscription that came with my car and over those few months I came to the conclusion I couldn’t live without an All Blues All the Time station ever again. I’m not a big fan of telemarketers in general, but they already had my attention, called when my free subscription was nearly up and made it easy for me to take it the next level. The whole thing took about 5 minutes. No interruption in what I already had. No pain.

“So, Dawn,” you say, “Enough with the whining. How does this have anything to do with me?”

The best customers are the ones you already have. And they help find new people for you when they become raving fans, which typically happens when the organization invests in them. This can come in flavors like an easy to navigate website, customer service that goes a little bit further than expected, making exceptions to the “rules” when it makes sense… you get the picture.

And yes, this absolutely applies to churches. Every time someone steps forward to volunteer, get involved with a small group, sign their child up for MOPS, participate in a class, etc., let’s ask ourselves, “Did we make that easy or hard for them?” Or better yet, let’s ask them.

It’s the Little Things

[Throwback Thursday :: This post originally appeared 07/06]

Okay, we’ve all heard it before. It pays to be nice. And apparently when it’s intentional with a pay-it-forward mindset, it can really make a difference.

I just read an article in the Mining Gazette [yes, you got the name right] about a town in Michigan that decided the best way to increase tourism was with positive word of mouth buzz.

And what they did was just simple stuff. Having extra maps of the area in their cars, helping stranded motorists, offering suggestions of where to get the best pasty. [I have no idea what that is, but imagine it’s important to know where the good ones are] I’d imagine folks were so amazed the locals would go out of their way to help an “outsider,” they told all their friends.

This got me thinking. How often are we intentional about this in ministry?

In the article, it wasn’t just the town council/Chamber of Commerce/mayor who was responsible for this. Everyone pitches in and it doesn’t take a huge marketing budget to pull off. I’ve read statsics somewhere [don’t look for a link for this] that studies show it takes 30 days to form a habit. So, this isn’t a marketing initiative, but a way of life for these folks.

Makes ya wonder if a little area in the upper peninsula of Michigan can do it, what would the possibilities be for ministries?

Pro Church Podcast Interview with Brady Shearer

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I had so much fun doing this interview with Brady. (You can also listen on iTunes here) He’s fun, personable, and has such a heart for helping others. If you haven’t heard about Pro Church Tools yet, it’s chock full of great resources to help churches communicate better. They’re doing a fantastic job. Highly recommend ’em.

PS: This was my first time doing a podcast, so if you have any suggestions of how it could be better I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

PPS: What OTHER questions do you have about branding that we couldn’t get to in the podcast but you’d love me to cover in the future?

Burned

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I’m amazed at the number of senior pastors that are stepping down—not only from leading their churches, but ministry in general—because they’re worn down physically, emotionally & spiritually by the labor of ministry.

Time after time I hear senior leaders tell me they are simply exhausted. And if you peek behind the curtain, more often than not it’s the ‘churched’ people in the congregation doing the damage through constant political battles, derailing vision and bickering over petty issues. If more people had the greater good in mind instead of focusing on their own agendas, one can only wonder what might happen to advance the Kingdom.

We have boards, elders and deacons to keep senior leaders accountable, but who is holding the congregation in check and to the same standards? Who is refueling the pastor?

It’s not only disheartening but alarming. Leaders once on fire with a vision to make a difference are leaving ministry. Not because of moral failures or scandal but because the daily grind of people and politics eventually took everything they had and left them with nothing more to offer.

Thoughts?