Monday, June 25, 2012

Everything Speaks

Since moving to S. Asia six months ago I have dealt with my share of culture frustrations and grasping the idea that I did not come here to change the culture, but to deliver the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ. But today's post will deal with one of my personal biggest frustrations in my host culture, customer service. As the title of this post, stolen from Danny Franks says, "Everything Speaks." 

My most recent customer service experience was at a new, nice restaurant that just opened up right by our house. I was very excited about this place because the majority of their menu consists of "Continental," items, aka American food and being from America this got me excited! So my wife and I tried it this weekend. It was decorated nice, clean, great wait staff, and the food was delicious as we had hoped.

There was really only one major problem with our experience at this place...time. We arrived at 12:15, ordered by 12:30, and at 1:15 we were still waiting on our food. Finally about 1:30, an hour after ordering, the food was delivered. As I already said it was good food and it gave me a taste of home, but an hour wait is a little ridiculous. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that we were the only people in the place. So to sum up the end of the experience, I gave the manager honest constructive criticism and assured him that we would be back soon.

I always think about the church when dealing with customer service issues and as Danny Franks says, "We no longer live in a world where people expect (and even embrace!) mediocrity in the local church." We are living in an age when details, and I mean every detail matters, especially the way in which we treat outsiders when coming into the church. As churches, we have to grasp the fact that to our guest, everything matters.

In truth I may really be speaking more to the church in the west, which is okay because the majority of my readers are part of the church in the west. But the point is the same that we need to take the time to see what is it that outsiders would notice that insiders would not because is is these things that will often keep the outsiders from coming back as to them this represents the entire church.

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