How One Encounter in Church Can Repel Visitors

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It doesn't matter if that lady at the boarding gate had a bad day. Her job is to put that aside for a while and greet the guests, just as all hospitality and service-oriented jobs require. Similarly, it doesn't matter if my kids threw a tantrum while I was putting their shoes on or if I had a rough night the night before. I try to put a smile on my face and remember that all in all, my life isn't that bad. And I know there are people at church who are having a much worse time than I am.
 
I know people get all crazy about the word transparency and this idea that if you're having a bad day and someone asks you how you are, you should tell them you're not doing well. I disagree. I can share that with my friends and those closest to me, but when I go to church, I want to serve others. I want to be a bright spot in their morning, because if they had a crazy morning like I did, they need a friendly smile and a "Glad to see ya!"
 
Because I am glad to see them. My husband is glad to see them. We love the people at our church, and we want to make their day a little better. It's a natural instinct.
 
However, the gate lady reminded me of an important lesson. Not only did she stain a little of Delta's reputation in our eyes, but she caused stress for the flight attendants who did, in fact, diffuse the situation. The other guests witnessed the gate lady's lack of customer service as well. Ultimately, her nastiness cost Delta money, because her rudeness and failure to follow protocol was bad enough that we were offered a flight voucher as an offer of apology.
 
How often do we stain the church's reputation, and ultimately God's?
 
When we walk by people at church and don't smile or say hi, especially those of us in leadership roles, it makes people feel uncomfortable, and they wonder if maybe that person doesn't like them.
 
If you have to "turn on" and "turn off" a positive attitude because you're "working on it," maybe customer service or hospitality positions aren't for you. And maybe, just maybe, leadership in the church isn't either.
 
The flight attendants were amazing, though. Although they were a bit embarrassed by the gate lady's harassment, they did everything in their power to smooth it over. This is what made me think about leadership roles in the church and how important it is to be kind and make people feel important.
 
You don't know who may have stained Christianity for them before they boarded your plane.
 
Five months after winning the Florida Christian Writers Conference 2012 Writer of the Year award, Bethany Jett signed contracts with the MacGregor Literary Agency and Regal Publishing. Her debut book, The Cinderella Rule, hit bookstores in April 2013.

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