Dr. Paul Borden
Rocky Mountain Church Network
Taken from Growing Healthy Churches December 2014 E-Newsletter
One of the most frustrating experiences for me is to walk into a store knowing what I want to purchase, finding it and being ready to pay for it, only to find the sales staff more engaged in talking to each other than waiting on me as a customer. I want to scream, “Don’t you know why you are here?” I might add that I find this equally frustrating when I see other customers having the same experience. Perhaps they are looking for a special item, cannot find what they want or simply are new to the store. And when they are left alone because sales people are more involved with each other than with the customer, it speaks poorly of the sales people’s training and understanding of their purpose.
I believe the Church of Jesus Christ and each part of that Church, including local congregations, has two customers (assuming a business metaphor). Its primary customers are the people who do not yet know Jesus Christ. The secondary customers are those people who are already part of the Body of Jesus Christ through faith in Jesus’ work in their behalf. However, I find that many congregations spend the bulk of their resources (time, money, energy etc.) on those who already know Jesus Christ, rather than focusing on those who still need to meet Jesus Christ.
The result is that many congregations act like the sales staff in a business where they are more preoccupied with those who run the business than the customer the business was designed to serve. Jesus told us that he would build his church so the “Gates of Hell” would not prevail. The church is designed to depopulate the zip code of the Evil One. Yet we in the church spend most of our time focusing on ourselves rather than on the primary customer our Lord intended the Church to reach.
As we focus this time of year on the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are reminded that Jesus modeled for us, the way he wants us to act with those who do not know him. In the mystery of Godliness, Jesus never left the Father. But in the incarnation, Jesus left heaven and his position there to come to seek and to save those who are lost. His focus, during his time on earth, was to spend a significant amount of time with those who did not know him. And in the process he did not count his position in heaven, as God, as something to preclude his time to come and provide redemption. Jesus functioned like a well trained staff person, who understands that the business is always about the customer, not the staff that run it. He came to serve others, not himself.[/vc_column][/vc_row]