9/21/12

Is my youth group like a Ford dealership?

No one ever has time to take their car in for servicing. It's always inconvenient. I grew up with a dad who preferred American made cars and taught me to never take my car to the dealership. He was certain their prices were super inflated. Howie, a youth pastor friend of ours ALWAYS took his car in to the dealership, because he knew they would have the parts needed and it would be faster than anywhere else. 

Saying BYE-BYE to our Mini Van! 

Hello fuel efficient 5 passenger Escape! 
Well two years ago we decided to get rid of our well worn mini-van and down size to a brand new Ford Escape. It fit our family of four just fine, and after multiple miscarriages, I was ready to be done. Our mini-van no longer served as our "youth group van" since I was working at a bigger church with a fleet of 15 passenger vans and buses we can use.  Three months later we had a surprise pregnancy and now we are nice and cozy with all 3 kids filling the back seat. 

Several months ago, one of the seat belts had not been working correctly, so I spent a few hours at the Ford dealership.  Free wiifi, a coffee cart, deli, pagers that beep when your car is ready and even ipads you can check out! Every little thing you can think of to make the whole car servicing experience better...well they thought of it! I sat and did youth group work on my laptop with their free wifi.  When my pager buzzed and it was time to go, my car was waiting for me out front. It had been washed and when I got inside there was a cold water bottle sitting in my cup holder with "thanks" printed on the label. Wow. Excellence. 

Whether at a car dealership you have been taught your whole life to avoid, or at church, hospitality can win you over.  From my own first hand experience, I can tell that at Drew Ford, excellence, a pleasant environment, communication, and creative small touches matter. When you walk out the door with that kind of an experience, you shrug off your pre-conceived notions and you fight with your husband about who gets to take the car in next time! Shouldn't church be the same way? 

But then comes lesson number #2. Consistency. Don't get weary of pursuing excellence. Most of our Drew Ford experiences have been over the top awesome (well lets see when the warranty runs out if it stays that way!).  Last time we took the car in because the back lift-gate would not open. It had been broken and I really need trunk access to get the baby stroller in and out. They squeezed us in on a busy day, and when it was time to go, there was no water bottle, no car wash (trust me our car was dirty!) even though their "check out" papers had car wash checked off on it. Excellence is a great thing, but excellence minus consistency, equals no excellence at all. 

When students have a great youth group experience, because we are on our "A" game, we need to be on our "A" game the next time too. Busyness can make us all cut corners as we rush through the day, trying to accommodate everyone we are serving. Like Drew Ford, let's be creative and think of small touches that make our students and families beg to return to our ministries, but then don't get weary of doing good. Stay on it! Be excellent week in and week out.

 "So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith."  
Galatians 6:9-10 (The Message).

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