by Terry Camsey, Major –
Immediately welcome you
with a warm smile and friendly greeting,
Serve you promptly, and be attentive to your dining needs.
Our restaurant will be a sparkling clean
comfortable place for you to relax and enjoy good food.
We will do our best to make your visit great.
We thank you and invite you to return.
It is our pleasure to serve you.”
Whether we care to acknowledge it or not, there are other places that compete for the attention and time of those we would minister to.
While seconded to the United Kingdom a few years ago, I was exploring this issue during a couple of Vision Colleges that we ran. It was apparent (and still is) that—in that country—it is the pubs that primarily compete for people’s time.
There is one on practically every street corner, open every day from lunch until late night closing. They have a variety of programs on various nights of the week including karaoke, quiz nights, sports nights, etc.
There is something for everyone, even activities for kids while their parents enjoy the social atmosphere with friends—veritable “congregations” of people who enjoy each other’s company.
Over the years they have spruced themselves up significantly and offer good food, as well as drink. Outside you will see well-maintained premises, many with sparkling paint and colorful flower baskets…
Some have gardens or yards where people can enjoy in the open air what is offered inside the premises, and can be seen by any passerby to be enjoying themselves.
While in the UK, I suggested that the Army could substantially improve the attractiveness of older corps buildings by doing the same: revitalizing the paint job and putting up baskets of colorful flowers. I suggested, too, that the Army might substantially communicate to the public that—whatever shape the buildings took—they were part of the same Army…this by painting all of them with red, yellow and blue paint, and having baskets full of yellow, red and blue flowers hanging outside. Branding the image, so to speak.
An officer from one corps countered that, if he put flowers outside the hall in his community, they would be stolen.
(He told me later that he did put out some flower boxes and that the Army hall had received first prize from the city council as the best garden in the community!)
But you know, outside many corps buildings, the sign principally sets out a list of activities, together with days and times; sometimes a text or slogan is added (most of which are incomprehensible, or of no interest to the unchurched who daily pass by).
By contrast, look at the “Declaration of Hospitality” above. It is part of the Denny’s Restaurant’s package displayed in each restaurant and available in credit card size for customers to keep.
Look at what is promised…a commitment to the customer; an immediate welcome; a warm smile and friendly greeting; prompt service to meet customers’ needs; a sparkling clean place, comfortable and relaxing; with good food; a promise to make the guest’s visit great; a thank you and invitation to return, and affirmation of their pleasure to serve you.
I’ve written about this before (several times that have not reached print) but let me ask you…
…what would happen if, instead of setting out a list of activities and times, our corps external notice boards contained a commitment to all who visit, spelling out the benefits of attending and trying what we have to offer.
Of course, we’d have to keep our promises to maintain our credibility, but that’s another story!