What goes through your mind when you hear the word, "customer" and you’re thinking about your church or ministry? Does it resonate with you? Or does it make you want to run the other way? I’ve found there are two groups of people in the world. One group readily gets the idea that even churches have primary customers. The other group objects vehemently to the idea that a church would ever stoop to identifying who their customer is. After all, they say, isn’t our mission to try and reach everyone, satisfy everyone, and engage everyone?
Truth is, you can’t!
Came across a great article at Working Knowledge (sorry…the link doesn’t seem to work right now), a great resource provided by the Harvard Business School. In a time when we’re being told that everyone is a customer, Robert Simons points out that "by labeling everyone a customer, the organization becomes confused about its purpose and whom it is designed to serve. If everyone is a customer, then no one is — and focus on the real customer is lost."
That is a huge statement with even bigger implications. Do you know who the primary customer of your organization is? And a bigger question is, "do your members believe that they are your customers?" How about this question: do you believe that your members are your customers? The answer to that question will define your ministry.