Here are another couple of quotes from Howard Schultz’s book “Onward”:
The only number that counts is “one”. One cup. One customer. One partner. One experience at a time.
A store manager’s job is not to oversee millions of customer transactions a week, but one transaction millions of times a week.
Before he retired, my father was in the newspaper business. He sold newspapers in machines and throughout the naval base in Norfolk (the biggest base in the world). He was actually very successful, and provided a nice living for our family. When I was young, my mother would sit watching TV on Sunday night and count money. As my father used to say back then “I make my living a nickel and a dime at a time.” Hundreds of dollars in nickles and dimes passed through our house and through my mother’s hands every week.
When you make your money a nickel and a dime at a time, you understand the importance of each sale. My father new his customers. He new to order more papers when there was a big story breaking. He knew to order more when an aircraft carrier was coming in from deployment. Like Schultz, he understood the importance of one. Too bad it was one newspaper instead of one cup of coffee – we could have been rich!
So what does this have to do with church growth and multiplication? Churches grow one person at a time. Every person walking in the door is important. I spoke at Crossroads this morning (the church where I used to pastor). I was reminded what a great job that church does of greeting each person who comes in. There are people positioned near the entrance to greet people, others who track who is here, who is new, who is here for the second or third time. And they honestly make people feel important and cared for. This is the power of one at work.
All churches want to grow. But so many don’t treat guests very well. I know this, I am in a different church every week. It is amazing how poorly some churches do at this very simple task of making every single person feel welcomed. They don’t seem to understand that “experience” which Schultz talks about throughout the book. Starbucks provides more than coffee, they provide an experience. Church shold be the same way. We should be providing an experience of God’s Kingdom, and a connection with God himself. We will only do that well when we understand the importance of one person.