Thursday, January 15, 2009

A church with bed side manners?

My son is sick with Pneumonia (so hard to watch them sick!) but I had a great reminder about the importance of good "bed side manners" today at his doctor's visit. You will agree with my observation if you are a parent or if you don't get all that excited about doctor's visits! Here it is:

What happens between the parking lot and the minute the doctor walks in the room is a huge deal! It sets the mood for the whole "event/experience."
  • Is the nurse smiling and pleasant when she/he calls your name to come back?
  • Does she/he say things like "hmmmm?" or "interesting" or "WOW!" or "oooooh my" while taking your vitals?
  • Do they write furiously on their pad as they occasionally peak over the glasses at you, yet say nothing?
  • Once you are in the exam room, are you left for the longest minutes of your life with no news of what's ahead? No instruction, no idea of what comes next?
  • And, the silence...what's up with the silence? It messes with your head.
Truthfully, we are either more relaxed or more stressed when the doctor finally arrives based on what happened on the way to the exam table. It's true. Today, our nurse was simply amazing! She put my son and consequently his parents at ease. She smiled, she explained, she empathized, she cared--or gave a very convincing performance if she didn't. She totally set the doctor up for success!

Here are my non-medical observations about "vitals" for Doctors:
  1. They must see every patient as some one's precious son, daughter, spouse etc not just another patient
  2. They must remember that the only minor doctor's visit or surgery is the one some else is having! This stuff is a big deal to the one's sitting in the other seat. They must see it through the patients eyes not the just the doctor's eyes.
So, this got me thinking. How are the bed side manners at our church? I want us to be great at this. Not just "church standard" great, but Chic-fil-A, Starbucks, Marriott, Disney World, Apple store great! For starters, hopefully people are more excited than at the last doctors visit when they pull up! However there are some obvious similarities. What we do from the time people drive onto our property to the time the sermon begins has HUGE significance. It ain't just about the sermon friends!

*Were we friendly? Enough but not too much?
*Were we clear on where to go, what to do, and what to expect?
*What did they see, hear or experience in parking lot and foyer?

*Did the stage set make them curious?

*Was there any one available to answer questions?

Here are my observations for churches. Stuff we MUST NOT forget! Eerily similar to doctor observations:-)
  1. "WE" must see every person as some one's precious son, daughter, spouse etc. But even bigger than that, as someone of extreme importance to our heavenly Father. Someone he died for. Not just another attendee!
  2. "WE"must remember that most first time visitors or people returning to church after a long break are really nervous and unsure about what they will experience. Their guard is up. Consequently this stuff is a big deal to the one's sitting in the "other seat". See it through their eyes not yours!
**What about your church? How are your bedside manners?
**What assumptions do you make about people when they arrive at your church?

**From parking lot to sermon are you working to relax people or unintentionally stressing them out?

1 comment:

patrick mitchell said...

this was awesome man! great thoughts... one of your best.
this probably needs to be published in a book somewhere. sweet analogy!