Chinese Take-Out and Church Guest Retention

Chinese Take-Out and Church Guest Retention

After attempting to take meticulous church attendance records for the last five years, and having mostly succeeding in doing so, and after reviewing those records to see what they can tell me in regards to guest retention, I have one observation to make.

While knowing a person’s name does not guarantee that they will return to another worship service, not knowing their name almost guarantees that they will not.

We love Chinese take-out. The best place to order take-out around us is Taste of China in Pana. It’s a small place. It doesn’t have the biggest selection, and it’s not the least expensive. But they have great food.

And they also remember us.

I don’t completely get it. When we order over the phone, sometimes they don’t even take our name. And when we go in to pick up our food, they always give us the right food even though they have no identifying information about us.

How do they do it? I have no idea. But somehow, they remember us, and they know us.

I’m not saying we go back to Taste of China because we’re BFFs or anything, but it does make for a good impression of their service.

People want to be known. They want to be cared for. Even when they just want to blend into the crowd, they want to feel like they belong.

This isn’t a sinful desire. God created us to experience life in community. To know and be known. It was not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18). And we should not forsake gathering together (Hebrews 10:25).

It’s true that we often take this desire too far and make life all about ourselves. But that’s why it’s so crucial that we encourage healthy interactions with one another. That we recognize that part of being Christian is belonging to the Body of Christ, and also to a local body of Christ, where we can know and be known to the glory of God.

2 thoughts on “Chinese Take-Out and Church Guest Retention”

  1. So true! When we moved to St. Louis the first time and we were looking for a local church to join up with, I stopped into a SBC church for the first time while my husband was away with the National Guard. They had a nursery, which was highly recommended by the friendly usher outside the doors. Although I wasn’t accustomed to dropping my baby off at a nursery, I did that once because he made it sound fun and I felt guilty depriving her of that experience! Since I had no baby to hold me to the back row, I sat about mid-way up, next to the nicest lady who reminded me of my Kindergarten teacher. After services, I retrieved my daughter from the nursery, where she had indeed enjoyed herself, if craft-work was any indicator. I then decided to take her to Burger King to play for a while before naps. When we got back home after about an hour, there was a note and a gift bag waiting on our door: “sorry we missed you, but it was great to see you at church today! We hope you come visit again soon!” I’ve literally left family reunions feeling less welcomed than this church. In the end, it became our church of attendance, and the day we had to leave because we moved, I cried. All through services, because I knew I would miss it. Pastor asked me about it as we were leaving, and I could only tell him he had a wonderful ministry here, and thank you.

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