There are a few companies that I enjoy providing business, precisely for the way they pursue their missions.
Target’s vision statement reveals a desire “to provide a fast, fun, friendly environment for [their] guests.” As a guest of Target, I normally see clean stores that are well lit, very organized, with wide isles, which leads to a pleasurable and fairly quick shopping experience.
Panera Bread’s mission is to put “a loaf of bread in every arm.” I think that’s cute, but I frequent Panera Bread for the eating experience. I can enjoy a healthy, yet tasty breakfast, lunch, or dinner, while adding a little sweet (cinnamon crunch bagel perhaps) or salt (like the kettle chips) without much concern of working off those minor indulgences. The employees are nice, the lines are short or go quickly, and my food is prepared to order (translation: hot or cold as appropriate and fresh).
Finally, Chik-Fil-A’s vision statement is “to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chik-Fil-A.” I like driving through the Chick-Fil-A window and having the employee state, “It will be my pleasure to serve you at the window.” My mind thinks, “Really? And it is my pleasure to give you these $6.” I like the fact that Chik-Fil-A gives their employees Sundays off to worship, rest, and spend quality time with their families. I appreciate them offering scholarships to the young employees aspiring to attend college. I like their partnership with “Veggie Tales” and that my daughter normally gets a book in her meal bag (in opposed to another useless toy for me to trip over in the hallway).
The big picture is that I like for people to deliver on what they promise.
In contrast, people are sorely disappointed when individuals, companies, organizations deliver the unexpected. Several weeks ago, the Gap store learned a harsh lesson about marketing. After revealing a new logo to reflect a transition of the company’s culture, the negative responses were fierce. Within a stint of one week, Gap disbanded use of the new logo.
In the same manner that people accept or reject changes in a company’s mission, vision, culture or brand, they make similar assessments about religions, churches, and the messages that we deliver.
I often wonder what the people who are not of the Christian faith think about the Christian church. How would we measure against our proclaimed mission statement? If they came to a church service, would they see the mission reflected in how we worship or the way that we interact with each other? More importantly, would they see our mission statement reflected in the way that we lived among them during the weekdays?
I am not surprised to hear quite frequently that many people like Jesus (several religions hold him to high esteem) but they don’t like the Christian church. How daunting is that disconnection? Are we being clear about our mission statement?
Quite simply it reads: “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 NIV
Our mission statement is to reflect the love of God as displayed through Christ Jesus. When people see that focus more clearly, they are better inclined to make an adequate choice concerning the truth that he offers. On the other hand, if we change our logo or lose our focus with distractions of busyness, politics, pursuit of power, money, and dogmatism about nonessential issues, then those that we come into contact with completely miss the point because we have failed to represent Jesus or his mission properly.
Do you know that when people see you, you represent Jesus to them? How does that affect your daily living?
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© Natasha L. Robinson 2010
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