I stepped onto the River Boat that was docked for the night. It was beautiful. I dressed in my best dress and yet I still felt under-dressed. It was clear that I was out-of-place and an uneasiness laced with wonder filled me as my heart raced and my stomach became queasy. I don’t belong here, I thought as we were escorted to our table. I was on a blind date and my expectation of the evening was vasty different that my experience. The table was set with cloth napkins, rows of silverware (real silver), an attentive waiter to serve my every need, an extensive menu of the finest food and an atmosphere of southern beauty surrounded me. I was being treated like a princess, but I knew I was anything but! I had no idea what to order, Cornish game hen sounded safe even though I had no idea what it was or how to eat it when it came to the table. Needless to say, the evening was like a dream. A dream that I had been misplaced in.
It was a spectacular experience and for the very first time in my life I knew what it felt like to be treated like I was someone special.
Let’s face it, most people will never get the chance to experience what it is like to step onto a River Boat for a five-star dinner. They may never take a first class flight or stay in an all-inclusive resort. They may never know what it feels like to experience the finest of things. They odds are, however, that they will step through our church doors one day. And when they do…
It’s up to us to put ourselves in their shoes, understanding their apprehension. We have to anticipate what their fears might be and how out-of-place they may feel. We need to look at our environment with the same wonder and uneasiness that they will. Guests are going to step into our doors expecting a meal, but it is up to us to surprise them with a fine dining experience. The experience of a lifetime tears down barriers and opens hearts to hope. We can give people a glimpse of the life they were born to live that will linger with them beyond the weekend.
Our guests long to be treated as someone special and church may be their very first encounter with the experience of a lifetime.
What finally put me at ease as I sat on the riverboat that night? Why is it all these years later I can still recall the memory of this moment and how I felt? It was the place, the space, the setting, and most of all the company of nice people who’s sole desire was to create for me a Once in a Lifetime Experience. They knew I was coming and they went to great pains to prepare for my arrival. They anticipated my every need before I realized I had a need.
I asked for nothing, but was given everything.
As representatives of the King, we can do this. We can prepare an experience fit for royalty that will make every guest feel like we did it all just for them. The experience we create, good or bad, will linger on. Let’s make our guests experience exceed their expectations.
Let’s do everything we can to create a Once in a Lifetime Experience!