Sunday, April 01, 2007

Weekend in Sedona.

Hi friends! Thought I'd stop in tonight and post something new. Life's been wonderfully full.

Here are some pics from an awesome weekend we had in Sedona a few weeks back.

The beautiful ladies in my life!

Sedona's rock formations were absolutely amazing.

What a beautiful day looking at God's artwork.

This church facility is actually built into the rocks and the cross stands 90 feet high.

The weekend we spent in Sedona was a much needed break from everything. We hadn't gone out of town and spent time with my in-laws since we moved here 5 years ago. When we lived in New Jersey we did more with them than we've done while living only 15 minutes from them. Isn't it funny how that works?

While we were there, we ate dinner at a restaurant called Relics. Not only was the food fabulous, the service was the best I've experienced anywhere - and I've been to quite a few places. The waiter made us feel so welcome and at home. He even knew specifically how the potatoes were prepared by the cook, and when he described the process, it made me want them even more. When we got up to leave, the waiter and the host shook our hands. I was impressed.

Afterward, I began to think about church and suddenly found myself wishing our greeters and ushers had the same zeal and warmth as our waiter at Relics. Oh, and don't forget the knowledge. Wow! What kind of church would it be if the greeters and ushers had a reputation for "the best service" anywhere?

On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your church's "service"?


ruthrap said...

James...nothing can take the place of kindness and courtesy in any place of business..churches need these qualities even more...We represent Jesus..who is more important to endorse than He is? We should all keep that in mind in our treatment of and out of church!

Jason said...

Representing Jesus, we've got an obligation to uphold the best quality in how we respond to the world. For the times I've seen bad service, I think those people tend to react to comments and situations instead of taking the time to consider compassion and care.

Overall, our greeters are great. We've got a team outside the property helping with strollers, crutches, wheelchairs, kids, directions, opening doors, etc. Then inside the doors, another set of people answering questions, handing out bulletins, yet off to the side enough as to not run people over when they come in each door. We aren't perfect, but are coming to an understanding of the importance of our first impressions.

dorsey said...


I got nuthin.

sandytrif said...

I would rate our greeters pretty high. In fact one of the teaching elders-Jim stands outside(rain, cold, snow, heat,etc)and greets us as we come in. The amazing fact is that he remembered all of our names the second week we were there. Then there is another Jim that gives out hugs and a cheery hello as you go up the stairs. He then will help late comers try and find a seat. Inside the doors there are a few more greeters who hand out the bulliten and give another cheery hello.
Hey dorsey-hear CH has a new welcoming table??
So I would give us about an 8

JimmyBob said...

Nobody commented on the pictures of Sedona or the church built on the rock. Isn't the place beautiful? It's only about a 2 hour drive from my house.

While we were there we took a trolley tour of the area. The trolley car actually came from Arundel, Maine, a place I once lived when I was a child.

During the tour we learned that Sedona was the name of the founder's wife. It had been chosen as the name for the post office in the early 1900s because of its shortness. "Sedona" could easily fit on the rubber stamp.

In regard to the way we treat people, the Bible is full of instruction concerning what is appropriate behavior and attitude for a believer.

My desire is that we don't simply have "good" social skills and organized greeters ministries, but rather a reputation for "the best" hospitality anywhere. In other words, why should Disney be known as the happiest place on earth?

I mean, what is Disney doing that we aren't? Even though we are in two different lines of "work" - why should we suffer by comparison and lose?

sandytrif said...

hey Pastor James,
I was going to come back and comment on the beautiful photos, just never got the chance.
Compairing church to Disney~well you go to Disney to have a great time, go on some fast rides, see a show or two, but you go out the same as you went in. There really weren't any changes made.
Church, we should go in have a great time, listen to a few choruses, have fellowship,hear a message and come out a different person because we have learned a valuable lesson from the Lord.
Sometimes the lesson we have learned will eventually make us happy, but often times it comes with a price~a change in our livestyle, a giving up of something we would normally do (ie:serf the web, watch a movie, tv etc) to go and seek out the Lord in reading, prayer, fellowship, fasting.
Will this bring happiness here on this earth? I don't know~but then this place is not home~I will eventually gain great happiness if I stay true to the end.

JimmyBob said...

We were definitely changed by Disneyland, California. It is my absolute favorite place to go on vacation, and if I lived closer I'd go more often. There's something about sitting out on the patio of a restaurant in front of a lake, at around 9pm when the sun has just disappeared below the trees, and waiting to watch the Phantasmic. This, after a day of strolling around the park listening to men in striped suits playing their brass instruments. After the fireworks I stop and get a huge ice cream cone on the way down Mainstreet USA.

Actually, there's so many things I could write in particular about Disneyland that I love, but it all boils down to the feeling I get when I'm there with my family. The atmosphere, service, relaxation, and fun all help me to connect with them and make great memories.

The church facility is a gathering spot for believers to worship together and for seekers to check things out. Out of tradition and convenience we spend most of our time at the facility when we fellowship. It is like a community center in many ways; not a bad thing (unless you never get out of the four walls).

My question is, why can't we raise the bar a little at our church facilities and make it a place where people can more easily connect, relax, have fun, and make great memories with their families? Wouldn't that be worshiping God too?

JimmyBob said...

Our sacrifices, evangelism, and persecutions happen in the streets, right? The facility is a sanctuary.

sandytrif said...

Pastor James,
I have no doubt that being at Disneyland is a great place~but listen to what you have said you like about it:
The atmosphere, service, relaxation, and fun all help me to connect with them (your family) and make great memories.

You are doing nothing but having a great time~no work just relaxing.
If the we as the church just did nothing but relaxing~where would we be?
What you say you like seems to be all temporary~ all really about yourself~what will last for eternity is what I ment by no changes being made in you after a trip to Disney.

Also, I would like so see what the "workers" at Diseny would say about their jobs. Wonder how the person feels after having to clean up puke because some indulgent person could not control themself and ate too much and got on a ride. Or the character standing in the heat and having out of control kids coming after them all day, the clerks having to deal with the irate person who just complains about everything and thinks they are owed everything because they are at the Happiest place on earth.

I am all for Christians being friendly and welcoming~but then sin has entered into the world and a non christian sooner or later will find something conviting in the scripture to make them not happy~but in the long run will set them free and give them eternal happiness.

In fact after going to the self proclaimed "friendliest church in south jersey" for many years, I find that the body we attend now to be more like the hands and feet of the Lord and the people are generally very friendly and I feel like I am at a Happy place~may be not the Happiest place on earth, but a very happy place~with no bells and whistles just love.

JimmyBob said...

Great comments Sandy. I'm glad you responded. I was hoping to get a little more conversation out of this topic. So, please don't sense any negative vibes from me. They're not there!

The way you've imagined how Disneyland employees feel is pretty typical of how every "worker" feels in their jobs at times. I was smiling a little thinking about all the stuff I've put up with over the years in youth ministry. Kids and parents yelling at you and telling you how to do your job...getting angry with you when you're trying to help them avoid future problems.

But, none of that has stopped me from being genuinely courteous and kind toward anyone. Well, I have been angered and hurt, so there have been times when I could have handled things differently. But, all-in-all it hasn't robbed me of faith, hope, and love.

Ruthrap summed up my thoughts on this topic with the opening comment. She spoke about courtesy and kindness. I think that the church have the best coutesy and kindness anywhere and it will be the happiest place on earth.

But, what makes people feel that they are being treated with courtesy and kindess? This is where I think Disney does a better job than the church (in connection with the facility). They may understand humans better...

I have heard many times that we need to go to church for the Lord (to worship him) and not for ourselves, and I have agreed with that. But, I know that if I expect personal changes and fellowship with other believers, among other things, I know that I'm also going for me. We are to enjoy one another. Honor and prefer one another.

We don't have to have all the bells and whistles like Disney. I'm not saying that. But I'm not going to deny that my experiences there have enriched my family and brought us closer together.

I think that the experiences at our church facilities should have an even deeper impact. Figuring out how people think is a starting place.

But, don't ever forget that church is way more than a gathering at a facility.

JimmyBob said...

Let me correct a previous paragraph of mine. I wrote:

Ruthrap summed up my thoughts on this topic with the opening comment. She spoke about courtesy and kindness. I think that the church have the best coutesy and kindness anywhere and it will be the happiest place on earth.

It should have read:

Ruthrap summed up my thoughts on this topic with the opening comment. She spoke about courtesy and kindness. I think that the church should have the best courtesy and kindness anywhere and it will be the happiest place on earth.

ruthrap said...

James....I have a confession..I accidentally deleted you from my space and a whole bunch of others..and since i have not messaged you a will have to request to add sorry...just one of my little mistakes!

JimmyBob said...

I'll get on here later tonight and post something new as well as try to add you as a friend on myspace. Later.