Published: 3 months ago

Are You Paying Attention?

I go through drive throughs a lot. It’s not a fact that I’m necessarily proud of, but it’s a fact, nonetheless.

Before I complain about drive throughs, I should mention that (a) I’ve never worked in a drive through and (b) I don’t think I have the mental capacity to work in a drive through and (c) good drive through employees probably deserve more than we pay them and (d) I have three offspring who do now or have in the past worked in drive throughs, and this post isn’t about them or their very fine organization.

Now all of that said, I’ve had a couple of drive through experiences in the last few weeks that defy explanation.

So obviously I’m going to explain them.

The amalgam experience of both was as follows: I pull up to the speaker. The order taker asks for my order. I give my order. The order taker repeats back an order that must have been place in a bizarro universe where black is white and up is down and cheeseburgers are taco shells, because this order was in no way remotely similar to the one I just gave.

Further, I included a bacon biscuit in my order. This particular establishment is known for their bacon biscuits. I’d guess they sell in the hundreds per day. And yet my mention of a bacon biscuit must have been in an ancient language that involved symbols and hand gestures, because the order taker said “You want a bacon WHAT?”

Let me reiterate points (a) and (b) above: I have never worked a drive through. I do not see how order takers simultaneously collect money from one person while taking the order of another person. I think there are special skills involved there that I do not possess. So I kind of – kind of – get the difficulty.

But here’s the point: my two drive through order takers weren’t extremely gifted in paying attention. It wasn’t that they missed a request to hold the mayo; they missed the entire concept of listening to the customer and/or understanding the core items on their menu.

I wonder how often we do that in our churches. I wonder how many times we have the chance to answer a simple question for our guests and we miss it. I wonder how frequently I have blown the chance to help someone move from point A to point B simply because I wasn’t fully engaged in their moment, but engaged in whatever previous moment I was still hung up in.

Church leaders…guest services team members…all of us…let’s recommit to paying attention, listening closely, and helping people take their next steps.

Meanwhile, I’m craving a bacon biscuit.


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