Tuesday, April 14, 2009

First AND Last Impressions

I love food. So when our team traveled to Chicago for the Conspire Conference, I had all our meals planned out. I knew which restaurants we'd eat at, and had addresses saved so I could easily program them into our GPS. We had eaten at these restaurants last year, and I couldn't wait to eat at them again.

Our first must-visit restaurant was Gino's East Pizza. We drove straight from the airport to their restaurant. They have amazing Chicago-style pizza! Our server was great at his job. He welcomed us to the Chicago area, and was even honest at recommending foods. We asked him which appetizers were the best, and he reviewed each of them, honestly telling us which ones are a Gino's specialties, and which ones are in the same class as any other restaurant. The great food combined with great service represented Chicago well as a great first impression.

We ate more great food, had a wonderful time at the conference, and were excited to head home with all our new information and renewed excitement. But we couldn't leave without eating one last time at the airport (after all, who knew when we'd eat next?). We stopped at one of the little restaurants in the airport hoping we'd get a good burger. Not only was the food good, but the service was great! The lady taking our order was quick to tell me and Lucy that the burgers we'd ordered were HUGE and we might prefer the smaller (and cheaper) burgers. We appreciated that she placed our needs ahead of her profits. Then when she brought the food out, we noticed that our order of fries was much larger than the other patrons, even though they only had one size to offer. We were so impressed by such great service!

Our team returned home loving Chicago. We were greeted with great service, and bid farewell with the same quality. Chicago gave us not only a great first impression, but a great lasting impression as well. This got me thinking about our ministry from week to week. We strive to make sure each family is greeted kindly, questions are answered, and that they know their children are in good hands. We want to give a good first impression. But how often to we make sure that they receive the same treatment as they exit the building? A good first impression is important. But wouldn't the last impression be what lingers longer?

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