We were crazy. It is easy to see that in retrospect. It was not a wise decision, that was for sure. What was so crazy you ask? This past Saturday Jennifer and I took our lives in our hands when we went to Walmart. Now, on any normal day of the week Walmart isn’t that bad, but on the first Saturday of the month, Walmart becomes a death trap by which few survive.
Our trip this past weekend did not disappoint. Maybe it was the mom whose kids that were playing full contact hide and seek on the toilet paper aisle. It could have been the shoppers far more important than you who fly by only to park in the middle of the aisle blocking all carts from passing. Those were bad, but there is just a certain amount of abuse you are willing to put up with when you go to a store for their always low prices.
What truly made our trip truly crazy wasn’t the customers at all. What made our trip were the employees. On the last few trips to Walmart Jennifer and I have felt like our shopping got in the way of Walmart’s employees.
Just as an example Jenn and I were pushing our cart with our two children up one of the main arteries of the store. Directly behind us was one a member of Walmart’s cleaning crew. At several points the mop bucket filled with used mop water got into my space bubble almost sloshing water on me. I discreetly and politely turned around and said “excuse me”. (Yes we pastors often do let our sin get the best of us) In response the employee told me it was ok, only to trail me even closer. Finally, about halfway up the artery I pulled off to the side where the employee quickly sped by me almost hitting one of my kids on the head with a loose mop. I left this Saturday with the feeling that my shopping imposed on the Walmart employees’ time and that they would have rather had me shop some where else. In all truth Jenn told me as we were walking out of Walmart, “Wes I think we may be done shopping at Walmart.”
Walmart has a simple mission statement. They advertise it in every commercial they produce. Walmart’s mission is for you to “save money and live better”. Jennifer and I have been loyal Walmart customers since we were married. Every Walmart we have shopped at has produced a positive experience from our Handley neighborhood store to the Mega Walmart which sits as the heart of the Duncan, Oklahoma community. Our local Walmart is different, though. They have forgotten their mission statement. It is clear that they don’t exist to serve their customers.
Ok, ok, life is about learning. What does Walmart have to do with Church? Every church should have a mission statement and its actions should be centered around that mission statement. Who is the customer? There are three groups in every church. 1. God is the primary boss, and recipient of the church. The church fulfills its mission to please God. 2. The non churched person is the primary customer of the church. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. We exist to tell people who don’t know Jesus about Jesus. 3. The church also exists to equip the believer to move from being a customer of the church to being a servant in the church.
Here is where we often fail. We forget that we are servants, not customers. We become the Walmart cleaning crew member who didn’t realize that her place was to serve the customer, not the other way around.
As we meet week after week, the question is who are you? God is boss. Are you coming to church to serve or are you coming as a customer?