If you've been wondering where I've been the past week or so, we've been on vacation at Panama City Beach. For safety reasons I do not post on FB, on my blog, or Twitter when we're away. I've never understood why people post pictures of themselves while they are away on vacation. Why not just hang a big sign outside your house that says, "Hey, thieves! We're gone for a week. Help yourselves!"
We had a great time on this vacation. The weather was 80-85 degrees every day. It only rained one day which gave us an opportunity to do some reading. The fresh seafood was excellent. I should probably also mention that we celebrated our 46th anniversary while we were there.
We used to go to PCB every year during our anniversary, but we had not been down there for about eight years, so we were really looking forward to returning. We even stayed at the same motel we normally stay at, but something interesting happened this time. I began to look at the motel as if I was a guest at a church. I suppose if you've been in the ministry as long as I have that these kinds of things happen. I noticed some problems with the motel that have a lot of parallels with people visiting churches that I want to mention in a couple of posts.
Let me begin by noting the things that were positive about our stay at the motel. We arrived at 1:00 and check-in isn't until 4:00. Our room wasn't ready which did not surpise me. The young lady at the front desk took my cell phone number to let me know when we could check in. We left to do some shopping, and within 30 minutes I received a text letting me know the room was ready. That is good service.
Everyone we met on staff was friendly and helpful. Our room was clean and well stocked with the appropriate cooking and eating items. I had requested a room on a lower floor, and that was granted.
I consider everything mentioned so far as minimal standards, and the motel excelled on each of these. In recent months I've stayed at a few places that failed even these standards, so I was quite pleased that the place where we were spending a week was better than those other motels.
Most churches probably meet most of the minimal standards. Staff and members are generally pleasant and friendly. Most churches maintain a level of cleanliness and try to provide good service to the people who attend. However, people who visit for the first time often notice things that the regular attenders overlook, and it is often those things that determine whether or not those guests will return. In tomorrow's post I will discuss some of the things that I noticed at our motel that, if they were in a church, might keep guests from returning.