Under my desk, I keep a stash of microwave popcorn for the occasional kernel-rific afternoon treat. (Please don’t tell anyone…it’s my stash and no one else’s.) This particular stash expired in August 2007 and has a picture of a witch and pumpkins on the front. This is a probable indicator that Merriem picked up this box of Act II Butter Mini Bags at Target’s day-after-Halloween sale. In 2006.
But seriously, how could old popcorn kill you?
So earlier this week I’m standing in the office kitchen, no doubt getting radiation poisoning from the 42 year old microwave in there (I’m convinced it doesn’t actually have to be running to leak radiation), when I noticed the actual instructions on the bag:
Are you kidding me? There’s no winning that one. No matter what I chose, I could have ripped a hole in the universe. The lives of millions were at stake. I could have started a fire which would have burned down the entire Brier Creek complex in a ball of flaming glory. And…my popcorn wouldn’t have tasted as good.
This sort of thing is funny on microwave popcorn bags, but we do the same thing in our churches, and it frustrates the bejeezers out of our guests. Here are a few “instructions” you might want to check with a fresh set of eyes this week…
- Does your campus signage still point people to the right place? I know of a church that has premium guest parking at the opposite end of the campus from the auditorium. The reason? They went through a building program a couple of years back and never moved the signs from beside the old sanctuary.
- Do you have signage, period? How do people find your main entrance, your children’s area, and your restrooms?
- Does your worship guide / bulletin / order of service communicate fresh news, or the same reheated stuff week after week? Is it full of typos, or does someone actually proofread the thing?
- Does your pastor or other on-stage people use inside jokes that are only funny to church staff and those who have been around for decades?
- Does your website have outdated information and events? (Ooops…I need to go check that one myself.)
- Is your office voicemail still promoting your Good Friday 2008 service?
- Do your guest services people know which staff are responsible for which ministries, and where guests can go to find out more? Or do they use the “I don’t know” line far too much?
It’s important to remember that confusing communication still communicates. It will tell your guest that you were too lazy to go the extra mile, that you didn’t care enough to make sure their experience was distraction-free, and that it doesn’t really matter if they take the next step.
Check out your instructions. Are you placing people side-up, side-down, or both?
And speaking of convenience food instructions…