30 October 2006

Time for Reflection...A Good Thing

If I had made this post Saturday afternoon I would have called it, "Either Psychic or Lame" because that dream I had last week...it came true! Our Hospitality Training Event garnered exactly 17 attendees. Hence the title.

Since I am posting today, I have had more time to reflect and sleep and I have a much clearer head about what happened Saturday morning. Therefore, I neither think of myself as psychic or lame. I do still wish that more people had come to the training, but this just means that I will need to spend more time sharing my vision for hospitality ministries here at Trietsch in forums and at times that are more convenient for team members.

I do believe that I will need to spend 2007 convincing and inviting people to join the team that are on board with the vision that God has given me for this ministry. It will take the full efforts of my leadership team and I to make our transition to a "wow" producing ministry a reality.

Any suggestions on books I should read or people I should talk to about this?


25 October 2006

What kind of hole have I dug here?

Have you ever been so involved in one big project that you spend all day working on it and then dream about it at night?

I am working toward our Hospitality Training this weekend and I have done little else during my office time this week - and I still have much to do! This has become so all-consuming that I dreamed about the event on Monday night. I dreamed that out of 200+ volunteers who could shown up that morning, only 17 did. 17!!! I felt so defeated. I felt like a failure. It sucked. I would consider that a nightmare.

As I continue to plan for Saturday I continue to wonder how many people will show up. I wonder if they will find it worth their time. I wonder if I will actually have my talks together before Friday night. I wonder if I should have brought in an outside "expert" to lead this. I wonder if my team with know that they matter to me (since that is what I am trying to get them to understand about our guests). I wonder.

Please pray for me about this. It is really stressing me out. Pray for me especially because I internalize stress and I don't want an ulcer or something crazy like that.

OK, I'm going home now - yeah Deb and Caitlyn!


18 October 2006

One Bad Lunch

On Monday afternoon, two staff members, a spouse (not mine) and I went to lunch at a local restaurant to celebrate a birthday in our group. We have been to this restaurant before and received lackluster service, but we wanted to have Italian food, so we tried it again. This should have been clue #1, but it wasn't.

However, the service at this restaurant (which will remain nameless) was again poor at best. The waiter who took our drink order was one of two waiters for the whole lunch shift and he was also waiting on a table of 15 in the back - so we paitently sipped our drinks and talked. We noticed that altho this was an Italian restaurant, the music playing in the dining room was a mix of country, pop, and classic rock - nothing even remotely Italian.

One member of our party had to hunt down the other waiter in order to get our food order taken and then it took another 25 minutes for our food to arrive at our table. We were just seconds from leaving prior to ordering, but decided to stay once we found someone to take our order. My food was hot, delicious, and reasonably priced, but it will be a long while before I go back there - because I didn't feel valued during my 60 minutes there.

It really is true that a guest's experience is all about the whole package - service, atmosphere, ambiance, friendliness, quality, etc. Without a conscious decision to make dining "an experience" that local restaurant has lost a customer who loves their cuisine.

What can the local church take from a bad trip to a local eatery? We have the best message in the whole world and if we do a lousy job of presenting that message - whether through unfriendly greeters, no parking spaces, or unclear directions - we fail people who matter to God and who need to know that God loves them.


10 October 2006

It's All About the Experience

I am currently reading quickly through Simply Strategic Growth and #42 jumped out at me as one thing that often goes overlooked by long-time church goers: "Engage People in an Experience".

No longer is just opening the doors on a Sunday morning adequate enough for being an effective church. We must strive to offer our communities an experience that connects them with Christ on several levels and at multiple times during their stay on our campus. Tim points out that we must realize that people are no longer just looking for a church based on denominational labels or location, they are asking, "What kind of experience will I have?" and "What vibe do I get from the greeters?"

If we do not connect with the people coming through our doors from the moment they enter our campus, then we stand a good chance of not seeing them again next weekend. As Mark Waltz says, "We have 10 minutes to "wow" them."

This is something we are working hard at here at Trietsch, but we are still learning. We strive to make our worship an experience that leads to life change, but continuing efforts need to be made on the hospitality end of things (my charge) in order to prepare the way for the message to impact the hearers. The members of the church need to realize that we "preach without words" on a continual basis and that our attention to "the experience" will reap benefits for eternity.


Time Flies When...

Caitlyn's first birthday is coming up this weekend and I am floored at how fast the year has gone! It seems like only yesterday that Deb and I were talking about having kids and what it would be like to be parents. Now we have a beautiful daughter who is into everything and is the light of our lives.

I have to say that when Deb brought home a pair of shoes for Caitlyn it took a second for the thought of Caitlyn walking to sink in. And now that we are putting them on her feet daily, she looks even more like a toddler and less like an infant! She is still a little uncomfortable in the shoes (and the socks for that matter!) but I think she is getting used to them.

When we were preparing for Caitlyn's arrival everyone told us that "children will change your life completely" and we sort of laughed it off, but they were exactly right. I continually wonder what we did with all the extra time we used to have.

I plan to take mucho mucho pictures at the party this weekend, so be on the lookout for cake-on-the-face pics up here soon!


05 October 2006

Mark Long, the writer

Mark Long is a friend of mine that is working to help the young adult clergy in the North Texas Conference gather for dialogue and learning around the emerging church and other issues relevant to ministry in the 21st century. He wrote a great article for the UMR and I hope that all of you take it seriously.