Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Act Like You Care

A friend of mine in New Delhi works with international corporations teaching cross-cultural studies. He asked me recently before one of his sessions, “What do Indians need to know about working with Americans?” My answer, “Tell them to ACT LIKE THEY CARE. Americans hate it when people have an ‘I could care less’ attitude. We are a ‘is right’ mentality. Customer service is a big deal for us, whether it is from people who live in another country or from those at our local store.”

My brother is a business consultant and works internationally. He has some great stories on this subject. He told me of a friend of his who walked into a bookstore in Russia and asked the owner if he could see the book on the top shelf. The owner asked, “Are you going to buy it?” The guy said, “I might, but I want to read the cover and table of contents first? The shop owner replied, “If you’re not going to buy it, I’m not going to climb up to get it down.”

Recently he was in Cyprus and he told the group he was working with that in America when he walks into a Wal-Mart store there is always a “greeter” at the door. He said if I need to know what aisle the toothpaste is on he can ask the greeter and that person will direct him to the area of the store he could purchase that item. He intentionally went to a store in their country and stood in one spot looking around, hoping someone would come up and ask if they could help. After fifteen minutes he gave up, not one person in the store acted like they cared whether he was being served or not. He told the company, “In your country you have people at the door to make sure the customer doesn’t take a bag inside or to make sure people don’t walk out without paying for a product, but you don’t have anyone who is there to help the customer.”

Acting like you care goes a long way in ministry and missions. Telling others about Christ is not just standing at the check-out counter ready to ring someone up for Jesus. Yet sometimes, I fear, that’s what our programs and methods are like. The church has its programs to draw people in and we visit “prospects,” but that doesn’t mean we care, it’s merely a means to sell our product, boost our attendance and increase our treasury. Acting like you really care means helping people with their problems even if they have no interest in hearing the Gospel. Acting like you care is visiting that drunk, old person in a nursing home, that single mom working long hours just to survive. These things may or may not help your ministerial bottom line, but it’s what Jesus calls, “Loving others as you love yourself."

Acting like you care is a big deal. Whether one is selling nuts and bolts, tomatoes or computers. One way to bring people back to your place of business is to ACT LIKE YOU CARE, even if you don’t. For the servant of Christ, acting like you care doesn’t cut it. People can usually see through false compassion. But the principle is the same; no one will ever be drawn to Christ if His disciples don’t show they genuinely care.