categories: church, customer service, leadership
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November 16th, 2009

by Craig Groeschel

Does Size Matter? (Part 1)

(This week, I’m reposting a series from 2007.)

Why do some people go to small churches? Why do others go to large churches?

This is certainly an oversimplification, but track with me.

People tend to stay at small churches because they are:

1) Needed

Each week, someone is counting on them to pass out the red attendance folders, vacuum the floor, fill the communion cups, or help organize the choir robes. They are needed.

2) Known

People love small churches because they are known. If they have a toenail operation, someone knows. If they miss church, someone calls. If their pet cat gets hit by a car, someone cares. They love being known.

All things equal, why do people go to large churches? The answers vary widely:

  • The church has a good Mother’s Day Out.
  • The videos are cool.
  • The church has great music.
  • The junior high pastor pays attention to my kid.
  • They have a class for widows.
  • They have a class for addicts.
  • They have a class for everything including annoying people.

People have tons of reasons to go to large churches.

But why do they leave? Typically because they don’t feel:

1) Needed

The paid staff does most everything. The professional band is too good for most. The yard is mowed by a company. The daycare workers are paid. If there is no place for me to use my gifts, I just might leave.

2) Known

If a person misses church and no one calls, it hurts. If someone is in pain and no one knows, again, not good. One can be in a crowded church building and still feel all alone.

What can we do to help people become needed and known no matter what the size of the church?


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categories: church, customer service, leadership
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December 9th, 2008

by Craig Groeschel

Successful Ministry - 2

Do the Small Things Daily

When working with pastors, many are often looking for a “big win.” They want to have a big community event, a big servants’ banquet, or a big series that runs attendance higher.

While all these can be effective, I encourage consistency in the small things daily.

I’ll compare it to football. Most championship teams win games on many four-yard, six-yard, and eleven-yard gains. They might win one game a season on a last second hail-Mary pass, but most games consistently succeeding at the basics.

The same is true in ministry. Successful ministries are built on Christ by leaders who do the small things daily:

  • They return calls and emails promptly.
  • They show up on time.
  • They pray for God’s guidance.
  • They love and serve people.
  • They study hard and preach passionately.
  • They have a consistent and strong work ethic.
  • They follow through on commitments.

You could hope for the perfect mailer, plan the killer youth event, or pray for a news story to build your church…or you could move the ball forward one play at a time doing the small things with integrity daily.


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categories: customer service, vision
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July 28th, 2008

by Craig Groeschel

Think Big!

My good friend and church consultant, Dr. Chand, sent me an email. At the bottom by his signature, he listed 5 ways to think. This week, I’ll expand on his five thoughts.

Think BIG!

Someone once said, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”

I believe one of the biggest ministry challenges in our day is small vision.

When I started our church in 1996, I dreamed of leading a church of 2000 people. My vision was way too small.

This morning I’m presenting a few ideas to our directional leaders about ways we can possibly reach a lot more people. (I’m not ready to write about these ideas. They are still in the prayer and discussion phase.)

Without intentional effort, most people tend to think small, play it safe, and avoid risks.

With God’s help, I’m going to Think BIG!

Is God honored by the size of your vision?



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categories: church, community, customer service
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August 28th, 2007

by Craig Groeschel

5-Star Service 2 (of 5)

Everyone Greeted Us All the Time

After two days at this resort, I was so enamored with the quality of customer service that I intentionally began studying it. (I even interviewed several of the staff members to learn more about their training.)

When I visit one of our campuses, I generally come unannounced. On a recent weekend, Amy and I visited one with great excitement. Walking into the building, I wanted to see how long it would be before someone greeted us. Believe it or not, I walked by two staff members who didn’t even look up or greet us. Once inside the building, we stood still for several moments, wondering if anyone would say “Hi.” We seemed to be invisible to dozens of people who passed us by—and we’re the pastors of the church! Needless to say, we’re working on improvements at that campus.

At the resort, I noticed that everyone greeted us all the time. We never passed a single resort employee who didn’t greet us. Even the housecleaning crew—who were learning to speak English—went out of their way to be extremely nice. No one was intrusive. Everyone was friendly.

I’d love it if ALL our church members (and especially staff members) greeted everyone all the time. For most of us, it will take some intentional effort. But the effort will be worth it.

It’s sad to me that a resort has better hospitality than most of our churches. Let’s work to change that!


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

by Craig Groeschel

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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categories: church, customer service
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April 12th, 2007

by Bobby Gruenewald

Learning from the Dabbawalla

DabbawallaSeth Godin talks about the secret of the Dabbawalla on his blog.
The Dabbawalla have been delivering freshly prepared lunches from homes in little boxes to office workers each day in Mumbai, India for over a century.
Seth points out an amazing statistic about this service. They are reported to have a delivery error rate of about one in six million!

He goes on to ask “How is this possible? How do you create and run a service with thousands of employees, no technology and a poorly-educated workforce and have better than six sigma quality?”

His answer….”Simple: the dabbawallas know their customers. If they rotated the people around, it would never work. There’s trust, and along with the trust is responsibility. By creating a flat organization and building relationships, the system even survives monsoon season.”

How could this apply to our volunteer organization? Different from what Seth says about the Dabbawalla, we have a lot of well educated/bright people…quite a bit of technology (email, cell phones, etc).

Here are some of the questions this leads me to think about (not sure if they are the right questions though)…

Do volunteers know exactly what the responsibility is?
- do they know who they are serving (their customer)?
- do they know the needs of that customer?

Are volunteers the relational “front” of the church or are we directing that to staff?
- if volunteers are that front…how critical is their longevity (or lack of it) to the system?

Are they trusted to execute, or do we require layers of supervision?
- do we spend staff energy not trusting volunteers?


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categories: church, customer service, marketing
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March 28th, 2007

by Craig Groeschel

It Shouldn’t Matter, But… (Part 3)

In the church world, entertainment shouldn’t even be a consideration. God’s Word and His presence should be enough. I want to believe that with all my heart. (And my wife would stand by the statement forever.)

Entertainment shouldn’t matter. But sometimes it does.

The Church must recognize that we are competing for people’s attention. If you’re a church leader, your competition isn’t First Baptist Church, Shadow Valley Community Church or Holy Zion Apostolic Temple of Praise.

Your competition is:

  • The golf course
  • Snow skiing
  • The lake house
  • Sunday soccer games
  • Second Life
  • Mountain climbing
  • Sleeping in
  • American idol, Desperate Housewives, and 24
  • And a million other entertaining things

In the 1950’s, people were paying attention to the church and our message about Christ. We didn’t have to work to gain attention. The year is 2007 and things have changed.

I’ll be honest, I don’t like to think about how to gain and keep people’s attention with humor, suspense, stories, video etc. But a wise communicator and leader understands that in today’s world, even though entertainment shouldn’t matter, when it comes to getting and keeping someone’s attention to hear about Jesus, it often does.

(For the record, I’m not saying entertainment changes lives. It doesn’t and never will.)

I know many of you disagree. Let it rip!


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categories: church, customer service
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March 26th, 2007

by Craig Groeschel

It Shouldn’t Matter, But… (Part 1)

In the church world, there are a bunch of things that shouldn’t matter, but they often do.

I’ll start with some disclaimers:

  • Our goal is always to communicate Jesus and point people to Him.
  • Our goal is never to become worldly to reach people.
  • Occasionally we must adopt our ways to to communicate Jesus in the world. (The message doesn’t change, but the method has to change.)

Let’s start with the environment of our churches. Environment shouldn’t matter, but it often does.

Here are some observations:

  • Old and rundown shopping strips struggle. New (or updated) shopping strips draw customers.
  • Starbucks thinks environment matters.
  • I prefer the new theater with the big screen and comfortable seats to the old theater with the small screen and uncomfortable seats.
  • To me, a restaurant’s environment is (almost) as important as the quality of the food.

In churches, environment shouldn’t matter. We shouldn’t care. But some people do. (Note: This is NOT an issue in many parts of our country and certainly not around the world.)

No, I don’t think a good environment will change anyone’s life. No, I don’t think it is necessary for a church to be successful. But I do think people are being conditioned to expect quality. As churches, we should do our best with what we have to create spiritually welcoming atmospheres.



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