Posted tagged ‘McDonald’s’

The Need To Be Served

June 23, 2016

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                        June 24, 2016

                                  

As I was driving along yesterday and listening to the radio an interesting statistic was shared by the radio host. He said that a recent study revealed that the typical American family now spends more money in restaurants than it does at the grocery store. In other words, we eat out a lot and spend more of our food budget on a bacon cheeseburger at Applebee’s than packages of ground beef and buns at Safeway.

It also indicates that we are accustomed to being served by others. My driving destination was the car wash to have the layers of Midwest bugs cleaned off my car. It occurred to me that I was served by the man who welcomed me and took the order of what I wanted done; I was then served by the hospitable lady at the register who took my payment and chatted me up for a moment, and then I was served by the man who did the finishing wipe down. In the simple task of getting my car washed three people had directly served me.

After that I went to Sam’s Club to buy some items that I didn’t really need. I almost always use the “self-checkout” lane at Sam’s Club, but even in that lane an employee came up to me and asked if I had found everything I was looking for.

Earlier that morning I had been at Starbucks. No surprise to those who know me! The employees there served and engaged me in conversation. Once in a while I get an email from Starbucks asking me how my recent visit was. There is a short survey that pointedly focuses its questions on how the service was in my visit.

In other words, my morning was punctuated with various people in different locations whose mission was to serve me.

Yes, they were being compensated for their service, but the point is that “being served” is now a major part of the fabric of our lives. When we receive poor service we usually react in negative ways. During our recent cross-country road trip from Colorado to Ohio and back, Carol and I were on the receiving end of great service and really, really…I mean, really bad service. We stopped at several McDonald’s along the way. Most of them had adequate or good service, but one of them stood out with the lack of service. I don’t usually do customer reviews, except when Starbucks offers me a reward for feedback, but I felt compelled to evaluate the experience at this McDonald’s. It was an on-line evaluation, and at the end of it there was a question asking if it was okay if a McDonald’s management person called me on the phone. Surprisingly, a few days later a lady named Nancy called me and asked me about the poor service I had received. She was extremely apologetic and promised me that she would be addressing the issue.

When bad service is given people are concerned. Bad service is an indication that the customer isn’t that important, and customers expect to be served.

I think there’s a lesson for the church in all of that. Our roots are firmly planted in servanthood. Jesus is known as “the servant king.” The early church was about serving. The first restructuring of the first church was because certain people weren’t being served (Acts 6). Deacons came about because of the need for people to be served. The Christians in Rome around AD 250 took charge of people who were infected with smallpox. Families would turn their backs on the sick, but the Christ-followers cared for them in their last days, even to the point of laying down their own lives. Serving was part of their DNA.

We live in a time when many people come to church to be served, which is okay…but they’ve missed part of the message. As followers of Christ we serve and are served. The church is not a gathering of consumers. We’ve been consumed by the love of Christ. That realization changes us!

Carol and I are fixing dinner tonight for two of our children and one son-in-law. It would be easier to go out to a restaurant and be waited upon, but that “food budget stat” has stuck in my gut. I’ll grill, Carol will make a squash casserole and another side dish, and, I guess, we will serve!

I think it will be a good evening!

Selling The Invaluable With the Replaceable

February 2, 2015

WORDS FROM W.W                                                                         February 2, 2015

                               

There were some really good commercials during the Super Bowl. Loved the tortoise and hare redo by Mercedes. The bouncing blue pill commercial sponsored by Fiat that was creative. The muscle-bound Skittles ad was a hoot as well!

Then there were the ads that tried to sell invaluable experiences and qualities, but would put their product or company as the face of that experience. Four that stood out to me were the Coca-Cola ad where an accidentally spilled Coke into a computer network changed hate into love around the world. Let’s be honest! I like a Coke with a hamburger or popcorn, but Coke is a drink high in sugar that has more negative effects than positive attributes. A Coke late at night will have the result of blessing me with a sleepless night, and when I’m short on sleep I’m grumpy. “A loving person” does not fit my demeanor at those times.

Another ad featured McDonald’s promoting the idea of kind acts and loving behavior. I’m fine with random acts of kindness and letting people know you love them, but McDonald’s does not impress me as Dr. Phil with golden arches. In case you missed it, when you go to a McDonald’s and purchase something there will be random selections where the customer will receive his/her order free if he does a certain act of kindness like call his mom and tell her he loves her. It’s sweet, and I suppose since Mickey D’s can’t promote many examples of a healthy diet a few words of appreciation must atone for the cholesterol hike.

There was a third commercial that could have been sponsored by Promise Keepers. It promoted fatherhood all through the ad with various scenes of dads with their kids. I was expecting Bill McCartney to come on at the end, but instead…Dove for Men was the sponsor. Nice smelling men must make better fathers!

Finally, there was the car company that promoted fatherhood, ironically through a dad who was a professional race car driver…and gone most of the time. But at the end of the commercial he drives up to his son’s school in a new Nissan and all seems well. Amazing how a new car can atone for a dad who is gone most of the time.

Love, happiness, being awesome dads…all good things, but not found in a shampoo bottle, a hamburger wrapper, or a shiny new car with a huge monthly payment. But I’m sure a lot of people bought into it. After all, that’s why companies spend millions of dollars advertising at Super Bowls.

As a pastor I have to take it to my arena! As churches are we sometimes guilty of trying to sell the gospel instead of proclaiming it? There’s a difference. The cross and the events of the crucifixion are hard to sell. They are excruciatingly painful and agonizing. When we try to sell the gospel the cross is rarely mentioned. It’s like the black sheep of the family that no one wants to talk about.

When we proclaim the gospel we tell the story of the love of God that took Jesus to his death, and brought Jesus from the tomb. There’s joy at the end of the story, but pain and suffering is the dominant element of the chapter.

Like “Dove For Men” sometimes churches try to sell the idea that if you come to this place you’ll be better dads. Whereas that sometimes happens, it seems that the church should promote the idea that it will come alongside you on your journey…the low points and the high points; that the church of Jesus consists of broken who recognize that we’re fractured and seeking to be healed and whole.

Let’s be honest! That’s the truth, but there isn’t much shine to it.

Losing Power At Starbucks

April 25, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                          April 26, 2013

 

I was at Starbucks yesterday!

Not a surprise, for those who know me. But what happened while I was there was…interesting!

Starbucks lost power! Not one of those little momentary hiccups that we have all experienced. No, this was the loss of power that kept staying lost!

Of course, it happened while I was in the men’s restroom. And, of course, this restroom had no windows…just a while lot of darkness! It allowed me to find out one more reason to have a cell phone. Not to call from the restroom, but rather to shed a little light on the situation.

I emerged from the restroom to a coffee shop that was quiet. If you have been in a Starbucks you know how unusual that is. There is usually the sound of blenders, expresso machines, oven doors opening and closing, music being played from the ceiling speakers, orders being taken. But this time it was quiet and still.

Power that is lost stills the presence. Customers who were about to order waited for a few moments, before giving up and exiting. No frappuccinos…no cappuccinos…no lattes. Donuts were visible, but since there was no power to operate the register they couldn’t be sold. Things came to a halt. Employees stood around not knowing what to do. Losing power was not a chapter in their employee training manuals.

I stay for another twenty minutes or so, long enough to finish my tall coffee, and then made my exit. Several other people had already gathered their belongings, laptops, and workbooks, and preceded my departure. Several stayed.

Losing power leaves people in a quandary. Will it come back? How long before it returns?

It was an object lesson for me about the church. What happens to a church that loses power? Who notices? Who quickly exits, and who waits in hopeful anticipation of its return? What do we do when the power of God is absent? Do we stand around trying to find something to busy ourselves? Do we walk around in confusion?

Hard questions for the church. Harder questions because there are times when we are much more comfortable operating under our own power than we are operating under the power of the Spirit. When the Spirit is suddenly absent how aware are we that the lights have gone off?

Perhaps another relevant question is how urgently do we pray for the moving and empowering of the Holy Spirit in our churches? Every church has its times of delight and periods of desperation, green pastures and dry deserts. Consistent praying gets us through the desert journeys. It gets us through those times when the darkness is evident and we’re not sure when the light will return.

I was back at Starbucks this afternoon…go figure! One of the employees who was here yesterday told me that the power came back on after about forty-five minutes. I told him that I had been in the restroom when it happened. We were able to laugh about it, but if it happens again I’m heading to McDonald’s. Their coffee is just a buck anyway…although their restrooms are more suspect!