Sometimes you learn life lessons in the strangest places. I learned a lesson the other day about Church Consulting at a Red Wing Shoe Store. There are some high standards for selling shoes that have the Red Wing logo.
Here are some things we can learn about church from the way Red Wing Stores sells shoes and boots…
- They use technology to assess and try to get the best possible fit. When I looked at the styles, the worker asked if I knew my show size and width. I really didn’t have a close idea. She walked me over to this pad on the floor with two footprints on it, hooked to a computer. I stood on the pad and it measured the size of my feet and suggested the type of shoe sole and insole, based on how my weight was distributed to my feet. In churches, we need to get past some of the “cookie cutter” church growth methods and practices and look at the role of an individual church in its community demographics.
- They don’t entirely rely on the technology, but use it as a starting point. The salesperson used the scan to get a couple of styles and sizes for me to try on for the best fit. Ultimately the computer was very close, but without trying a the width larger and the next size longer. Church assessments need to be honest, but there also needs to be flexibility to allow for “factors not previously considered”. It is way too easy to see the assessment as a “silver bullet” that will fix the symptoms of a congregation, while missing the true illness.
- They try to have a better guarantee than any of their competitors. The salesperson explained the warranty that comes with their shoes and boots, they explained that they want the value of the shoe to outweigh the cost. They want to have a lifelong relationship with the customer. Many church consultants have built a reputation of having very little follow-up after the assessment. This does a dis-service to the church. there has to be regular follow-up to determine the best courses of action for the congregation.
I hope that the next time that you go shopping for a pair of shoes, you consider the course of your congregations growth as they seek to build God’s Kingdom. We are Better Together.