It’s easy for me to see what needs to be fixed in the churches I visit. I hate to admit it, but I’m a critic. I’d like to think that I’m a nice one, but I’m a critic nonetheless. After all, people don’t pay me to pat them on the back and tell them good job. Church leaders want to know what’s not working well and what can be done to be more effective for the kingdom.
However, my favorite part of any secret shopper visit is to celebrate what’s done well. And nothing makes my heart happier than when I run into volunteers who love God and serve their church with a smile and open arms. This past weekend I was able to reconnect with two of the best volunteers I’ve ever encountered in all my secret shopper visits.
Linda and her husband Harrod have been greeting at First Baptist Church Jacksonville for decades. They greeted me during my first visit to the church. They took the time to walk me around, answered all my questions, ask me to sit with them once they realized that I was alone and even offered to take me to lunch after the service. I couldn’t help but just love them. It’s been three years since our first encounter and they are still serving with smiles, open arms and hearts welcoming newcomers and making them feel like long-time family friends.
Every time I visit a new church, I secretly hope to find someone as hospitable as the McNeils. Honestly, I don’t remember one point of the sermon from my first visit, but I remember how good I felt about being there because of how well I was treated by Linda and Harrod.
Looking back in your life. Did you have anyone who either made you feel like home, or the opposite during your first visit to a church?