My wife and I just got back from a Cruise to Mexico and it was AWESOME. Of course when we docked we hit the shops to browse for souvenirs. We wanted to get some t-shirts for people and stuff. When you get off the main drag in Cozumel and into the “flea market” area – all of the shop owners are trying to coax you into their store. I was wearing a T-shirt that day that said “Sarcasm – one of my many talents.” So when one of the shop operators said “Senior – come and browse my quality junk” I took him up on the offer. It was funny enough to get my attention.
I wasn’t looking for anything in particular – T-shirts, cheap necklaces, trinkets. Then I saw the chair hammocks.
We had one on the back porch that got damaged and I knew we could pick up one cheap. They had dozens of colors but since I had on my Alabama hat I was thinking – it would be nice to get one with my Favorite Color. I asked him – do you have one in this color “Rojo e Blanco” . He assured me he did and then began to rip all the hammocks off the shelf in a mad fury searching for the red and white one. I could see pretty fast there wasnt one. Red and black, Black and white, white, blue, yellow, multi color etc…not the one I wanted.
This is where it got interesting. I asked how much for a hammock and he said $35.00. I said “too much” so he countered “since you are my first customer today $25.00. I said – we’ll I really want red and white – do you have that? “I can get for you” and the search began again. He even ran to another shop or two. He came back and said “you are my first customer, how much you offer on one of these.” Again, I reiterated – “No. I want red and white – rojo e blanco”
Then he got mad and started putting the hammocks back up and I started to leave and said “Im sorry – not today.” Then he stopped me and started yelling at me – “why you make me work so hard when you know I dont have this color?” Then he accused me “You come in here and choose color you know I dont have and then waste my time – why?”
I pointed to the hat. I said – “senior I asked for THIS color because THIS is the color I want. If you dont have it – thats OK – but I am not buying another color – thank you.” Then he told another guy in the shop and he proceeded to start yelling at me too. Then they had the audacity to demand again “make an offer – name your price on what I have.”
I looked him in the eye and said “I will not take one from you for free because you had a bad attitude – I dont care what color it is. I came in here because you were funny and I thought you had a good attitude – when you developed a bad attitude, I knew I would not by from you even if you had what I wanted”
We left – and he cussed me I think.
Now – here’s the lesson. Do we do this in the church? We come up with our hip sermon series, great graphics, cool videos, themed environments and serve coffee and pastry in our worship services to try and attract people to come to our churches. Most of us have quality or excellence as a value of our church.
But when people come in are we offering them what they are truly seeking? We can’t peddle an experience to people that is void of the one thing they need more than anything else – Jesus Christ.
If our church is “cool” “hip” “trendy” “post modern” “contemporary” or even “traditional” – it doesn’t matter if the “customer” doesn’t buy – and they wont buy if we don’t have what they are looking for. No matter what wrapper you put on your church – the bottom line is people need Jesus. They need to know that even though their sins are like crimson – they can be washed whiter than snow – they need rojo e blanco. And if we don’t give them that and try and push something else on them – style, tradition, denomination, bible version, whatever – then all we are doing is asking people to browse our quality junk.