Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Great Clips & Church Planting
Shortly after moving into our new house in SW Vegas, I ventured to the brand new Great Clips in a nearby shopping center to get my hair buzzed. I figured it would be like all the other lame chain hair cutting places in town.

But it was different because they were having a "grand opening." First, they had a banner advertising "Haircuts $4.99." I coudn't believe my eyes. Then, they actually had people working at almost every chair, like 6 people working at once! No waiting in line! I was digging it. Then, the guy who cut my hair actually knew something about hair. He gave me the cut I asked for but also gave me tips on how to make my hair look better each day (I'm still straight, but I have to admit, this was exciting -- I was getting customer service from my hair cutter).

I was in and out in fifteen minutes, my hair looked better than usual, and it only cost me $4.99! I left actually excited about my hair for the first time in . . ., well, the first time ever. I was so excited that I told Rebekah and she actually went there too.

Today, it was time for another haircut. I was excited to make my follow-up visit to my new-found Great Clips. What a let down.

My "stylist" wasn't there. In fact, the six professionals who were there for grand opening had been replaced by two people who looked like they just got out of haircutting school. They were nervous and unsure of themselves. One worker was fighting with the computer to get it to accept a credit card as I walked in. The $4.99 haircut banner was nowhere in sight. Instead, the permanent sign had been installed that showed the cheapest haircut being $12.00. While the lady was cutting my hair, her clippers quit working and she had to struggle to get them to operate long enough to finish up. Another customer walked in, found out the $4.99 deal was off, and stormed out furious.

I left with an average haircut that cost me $12.00, no customer service to speak of, and no excitement left about hair or haircuts.

I couldn't help but think that the way I learned to do church planting is exactly the way the Great Clips apparently opens a store (and I have a feeling the church copied the idea from business, not the other way around). I was taught that you get a huge crowd for a great grand opening, that you bring in whomever necessary to pull it off, that you use whatever gimick necessary to attract people, that you get them to leave excited about God and church. Today I found out how those people must feel when they come back a month or so later to a sub-par program, to pleas for money, and to an average performance.

Thanks to Great Clips, I'm more committed than ever to experiencing church as a family, not as a franchise. And, I think maybe it's time to buy a set of hair clippers.


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