categories: church, customer service, personal
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April 19th, 2007

by Craig Groeschel

16 comments (+ Add)

More Than I Expected

Most things I experience meet my expectations.

  • I expect the movie that claims to start at 7:05 not to start until 7:23 after forcing me to watch previews.
  • I expect McDonalds’ Big Macs taste about like they did when I was a kid.
  • I expect to speak to someone who barely speaks English whenever I call my satellite television company.

I love when someone exceeds my expectations:

My wife and I went to a restaurant called Deep Fork. They exceeded our expectations over and over again.

The waiter brought us free appetizers (with meat in it). When he discovered later my wife rarely eats meat, he brought a different and “meat free” appetizer. When I asked about the difference between two steaks, he offered to combine the peppercorn with my preferred piece of beef for the cheaper price.

Besides exceptional service through the dining experience, at the end of the meal when we declined desert, he brought us two small free deserts to say “thanks” for dining with them.

I gladly left a HUGE tip on an already expensive tab and told all my friends they had to go. Why? Because they exceeded my expectations.

How do you think “the church” can exceed people’s expectations?

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Comments

there are a total of16
  1. Apr 19, 2007 at 7:36 am

    There are so many ways that we can exceed people’s expectations. It’s different depending on what flavor and style that your church is. But, just like you telling everyone that reads your blog how great Deep Fork is, you will know when you are exceeding people’s expectations when they tell everyone about their church and bring their friends.

  2. Apr 19, 2007 at 7:50 am

    As I was reading your post, I was thinking to myself “they can’t do that!” and “No one has ever done that!” Our expectations are so rarely exceeded that it really makes an impression on you when they are. I wanna be that kind of pastor. and I want to be that kind of church. But like this restaurant, Sometimes you may have to experience something to even know what comparisons to make.

    Heath

  3. 3Steve
    Apr 19, 2007 at 8:02 am

    Craig went to Deep Fork??? Long ways from cheese on the fries at Sonic…

  4. 4Amy
    Apr 19, 2007 at 8:15 am

    Our church has been able to offer people more than they expected when we began the Alpha program.
    Nice nice dinner with candle light, excellent food,(no charge-donations accepted) top notch treatment, everything focused on them. All about setting the environment for them to be at ease to hear a word from God, meet a friend, think twice about being involved in the church. Implementing Alpha has helped our church bring Alpha’s excellence and focus to the “rest” of the church atmosphere.

  5. Apr 19, 2007 at 8:37 am

    I think the reason surpassed expectations surprise us so much in any environment is the reality that for an individual to put that much time and effort into serving you, as the waiter did, they either must be incredibly motivated by an outside force to do so (large amounts of money can sometimes accomplish this however, this might or might not apply for a waiter, :) or, the person genuinely cares about serving you and delights, to a certain extent, in the responsibilities that they have been given to carry out through their specific act of selfless service.

    The churches that have far exceeded my expectations almost always had one thing in common: They seemed to honestly care about the people that came searching for something once they passed in through the doors.

    And in the finite moment between, “Hi, how are you?” and “Thanks for coming today” a subtle yet profound, often inaudible, dialogue takes place that is seemingly imperceptible yet resoundingly impactful:

    ‘We really do care about you.’
    “Why?”
    ‘Because…God loves you too much for us not to.’

  6. Apr 19, 2007 at 9:23 am

    The church can exceed expectations by deviating from the norm. Stepping out of the “church mold” and being true and authentic with every single person who walks through the door.

  7. Apr 19, 2007 at 9:32 am

    Craig, I’ve thought of you at that very restaurant (One of our favorites) for those very same reasons! On some nights, at their new North Fork, you get the free appetizer AND the fritters…

  8. 9Terry G
    Apr 19, 2007 at 10:28 am

    I think Deep Fork and LifeChurch have a lot in common when it comes to exceeding people’s expectations. Both obviously put their absolute best out there, without fear that they won’t get anything in return (Life’s free resources and Deep’s free appetizers as examples). Even though the motivations may be different: LifeChurch’s motivation is the expansion of God’s kingdom, Deep Fork’s is returning customers and an expanding bank account. I think the Key for both is having a true Heart to Serve, even though the motivations may be different.

  9. 10Joe Breneman
    Apr 19, 2007 at 11:24 am

    I have a friend - really a great Godly man — who led our fledgling men’s ministy for a few months before it petered out a few year’s ago. At one meeting where there were quite a few guys, he promoted the next month’s meeting with: “Man this will blow your socks off, the Holy Spirit is going to move in great ways, You don’t want to miss it, It’s going to be the best we ever had.” The turn out was great the next month. Unfortunately, the meeting was everything but what he had promised. Having had this conversation with him before on several occassions, he asked what I thought went wrong, and I said, “You’ve got to stop highly overpromising things and completely underdelivering what you promised.” People respect, trust, and are loyal to leaders who do “over deliver” what they have promised.

  10. Apr 19, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    Wow. That is really incredible. About a month ago I was at a sit down restaurant like Chili’s (not Chili’s, but of similar quality). We had just been on a bus for 5 hours and when we got there they told us that we would have to wait for 45 minutes (we had reservations for when we arrived). After giving our drink orders I patiently waited as the waiter forgot my drink while he brought out everyone else’s. I ended up spending half the meal without a drink after repeatedly asking our waiter as well as an other worker that passed by for a drink. Several times they took my drink to a nearby table (which were people in our group) who later told me that they kept getting drinks that they weren’t asking for. At one point I asked the waiter if he could just bring out a few drinks since I was very thirsty. He never did, well, maybe they just went to the wrong table. :) Expectations exceeded is a wonderful thing, but it is nice to be able to honor someone (by tipping well) who does not seem to deserve it in spite of their actions.

  11. Apr 19, 2007 at 9:22 pm

    I think that a lost person walking into a church has a ton of expectations. I can’t imagine that most of them are all that great. They may come with a friend, family member, or co-worker and feel like they’re doing a favor for someone just by coming. I really think the church has a great opportunity to capture their attention and disarm the bad notions that they may have.

    We can do it by being welcoming and simultaneously respecting their anonimity.

    We can provide a comfortable atmosphere that isn’t intimidating and overwhelms them with christianese slogans and icons.

    We can provide QUALITY music, not offer up some terrible version of a Maranatha song from back in 82′ by uncle Rico.

    We can provide them with good biblical teaching that isn’t too much confrontation without some comfort thrown in.

    The list can go on and on, but I really think we have to start trying to remember how we feel when we receive bad service or less than average attention….poor David…that’s sad about your drink.

  12. Apr 19, 2007 at 9:37 pm

    Derrick,

    Thank you to you and your team in Tulsa. You guys do an awesome job of exceeding people’s expectations. Your team has the right motives and are reaching tons of people. Way to go!!!

  13. Apr 20, 2007 at 10:37 am

    Craig, are we asking the right questions? Comparing the church to a restaurant highlights how far we’ve entered into a consumerist mind set. Pastors as chefs, laity as customers. Professionals offering services to clients.

    Let’s remember that our Western model of church (clergy/pastor up front on a stage, spectator/clients looking forward to stage, etc.) was birthed in Constantinian Rome circa AD320-350. The Constantinian church was modeled on the Roman court system, with judges up front on an elevated stage and spectators looking towards the stage.

    With few exceptions, the pre-Constantinian church typically met as smaller groups, in homes, with (mostly unpaid) lay eldership. Elders, deacons, and pastors saw themselves as servants, not professional leaders. Pre-Constantine Xn faith was transmitted missionally - virally from person to person - not via professional/attractional models. Frost, Hirsch, Fitch, Roxburgh, Hjalmarson, and many others are leading today’s conversation on missional vs. attractional ecclesia.

    We’re personally meeting more with friends (Xn and pre-Xn) in our homes, sharing meals, faith, stories, encouragement, praying, singing — basically -being- the church. We’re starting to understand these simple gatherings as our PRIMARY expression of church. These organic, horizontal relationships are also helping us to understand our common activities in shared community (workplace, Internet, etc.) as part of the same continuum - living ALL of life as the “hands of feet Christ” to others.

    We still “attend” a local mega church, but the big Sunday meeting with the pastor up on stage and all the people as audience is feeling somewhat hollow. We get great, inspirational talks on-line, any time (on-line Xns I know often have a huge backlog of MP3 talks in their queue). Even the centrally orchestrated “home group meeting” as a managed sub-set of the mega-church is starting to look fundamentally backwards.

    Perhaps we’re seeing the first signs of a shift away from a “top-down” consumer model of Western church? Perhaps the Internet, and the self-organizing collective intelligence therein, is already showing itself as a primary force behind this fundamental move back to a community which resembles the Book of Acts rather than a Roman court?

  14. Apr 23, 2007 at 6:47 pm

    [...] How often are the expectations that you have exceeded by a place, experience or gathering? Craig has some thoughts on this topic here - More Than I Expected. [...]