People to Pastor or Customers to Serve

Who are your favorite people to learn from? In grade school many of us had teachers we preferred, and some we did not care for. This usually continues in life. In college when you find a professor you enjoy you find a way to take various courses that they offer. In adulthood we have things such as favorite authors or speakers that we gravitate towards for insights and growth.

Pursuing growth through new knowledge and insight is a great thing to do. However the challenge for many of us is taking in new thoughts without losing culture. Wherever you serve you are part of a unique culture, often times intentionally cultivated by the senior leader.

We must be intentional about learning and observing from others, while considering how we implement things within our unique team or organization. If your goal is to help your team, then what you learn is helpful only when you discover a way to translate it into your team culture. (click to tweet)

Because I work in ministry there is a basic way this plays out for me. You see there are never-ending seminars, books and talks on the idea of customer service. In fact if you want you can become immersed in a subculture of customer service trainings and conversations.

With all the wonderful resources available on the idea of customer service there is a challenge to keep proper perspective. There is much to learn from the customer service industry, yet at the core there is a deep divide that we must understand if we are to translate customer service thinking into church environments.

The shift is subtle when you begin thinking of people walking into the church as customers. The logic makes sense – people are coming in looking for something that we hope to provide. Our job is to serve them well so they want to come back…sounds like customer service doesn’t it?

The battle for those of us in the church is to remember that those who come into the church are people who need pastoring, not customers that need service. (click to tweet) This is more than semantics of language – there is a big difference between pastoring people and treating them like a customer.

I can learn much from the customer service industry, yet in the end our purpose is not to get a sale or a return customer, but to help people experience redemption and restoration through Jesus. (click to tweet)

Learn all you can from the resources you have available, but keep your team’s purpose and culture in mind. Specifically if you serve within the church remember that those who come in our doors are people who need pastoring, not simply customers to serve.

3 thoughts on “People to Pastor or Customers to Serve

  1. This is a good post Cory. I have one caveat. By saying people need pastoring, most people will assume pastoral care by a pastor. I don’t believe that. I believe they need ministry, by the Body of Christ. Or maybe there is a better word than ministry…


  2. Nice article! But power from the Holy Spirit is also key to pastor successfully. So that the service is not just a motivational talk.
    But, really illuminating article there!


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