Have you every left a restaurant or business and knew that you would return because the experience you had was phenomenal? And every time someone brings up this business’s name in conversation, you jump in with your support and recommendation?
You are what’s called a brand ambassador. You may not have paid partnerships with them or get to shoot commercials, but you still have a group of people that you influence with your opinion. (If you’re already checking to see whether you’re on the right site, stay with me…..)
While a vast majority of southern Americans love Chick-Fil-A and might even have a story about an incredible customer experience, I would be considered a brand ambassador for their company because I don’t just enjoy and promote their food; I also support and promote their values.
One early morning several years ago, my family and I were driving when an accident happened right in front of us. A truck had slammed into the side of a small SUV, causing it to roll several times. My mom and I ran to help the family get out and collect their personal items because we knew their car was totaled. Before emergency vehicles had arrived on scene, here came a 20-25 year old guy slightly out of breath, holding bags of food for the mom and her two younger girls. Apparently, a passerby got to the Chick-Fil-A about a mile down the road and mentioned the accident to a staff member. Without hesitation, food was stuffed into bags and this guy beat the police, the paramedics, and the tow truck.
Since the average response time for an emergency is about 6 minutes – I still to this day have no idea how he made it out there so quickly! From that moment forward, Chick-Fil-A wasn’t just a restaurant that served the world’s best chicken (don’t even argue!), it was a place that put people first.
Skip to my sophomore year of high school when my stepmom underwent a quadruple bypass surgery over Thanksgiving. Our family sat in a waiting room for what seemed like eternity. (Side note – hospital food doesn’t get better just because it’s a holiday. And we were hungry.) As soon as we knew my stepmom was stable and asleep in ICU for the evening, we went to the Chick-Fil-A nearby. And because food from Chick-Fil-A is of the Lord’s calories, we ate there a few more times while she was recovering. On our second or third visit, the manager caught on that four people weren’t just hanging around his restaurant for kicks, so he approached us.
“Hey guys! I couldn’t help but notice that I’ve seen you a few times over the past couple of days, and I was just wondering if there was anything I could do for you?” We explained the situation, and he pulled up a chair to listen. That man left his post during the lunch rush (and you know what that’s like) to put people before his position.
Why should church be any different?
When we say yes to volunteering on a Sunday, no matter which area we serve in, we’re saying “yes” to people’s bad days. We’re saying “yes” to the addictions, the job that was just lost, the marriage that’s starting to crumble, the we’ll-try-church-one-more-time mentality, and the guest who doesn’t know if their lifestyle will be welcome here.
To some of us, it sounds ludicrous that someone wouldn’t be welcomed at church. To others, it’s a harsh reality. Welcome Teams has the honor of bookending the service. We set the tone before anyone walks into the auditorium and we leave them with a feeling as they head out into the world.
The power of that moment is what they’ll remember most – not the message, maybe not even the music. They’ll remember kind words, a smile, or a “we’re truly glad you’re here.”
Jesus didn’t love people as a means to an end. He didn’t include the ones that everyone forgot about because it was good for PR. He loved people because He wanted a relationship with them. That’s how our guests will meet Jesus – through the building of a relationship with the people who love like He did.
We may never sell chicken nuggets in the lobby or give you more sauce than you asked for, but we can continually influence our guests to become brand ambassadors for the Gospel of Jesus. And, honestly – the more the merrier.