Of Doctors and Churches

This past year I have spent a great deal of time in doctor’s offices. My mom and dad along with two of my sons have been to numerous doctors for their various issues. With each visit, I have noticed three things that make for a great doctor’s visit.

1. The Staff
The people who represent a doctor are the first contact people encounter. A secretary with an attitude is a bad first experience. A nurse with limited people skills is a terrible representation of the doctor. More than one person has changed their doctor because of the staff that serves him.

2. Knowledge
My mother visited a doctor who basically told her she was getting older. While that is true, she did have a problem called C-diff that another doctor diagnosed. The first doctor didn’t listen to her problems closely and didn’t run the right tests. His lack of ability to find her problem offered her no relief. Needless to say, he is no longer her doctor. You go to a doctor to gain the knowledge you could not obtain on your own.

3. Bedside Manor
A good doctor has to be able to deal with people. He needs to put people at ease and make them feel important. A smile, taking the time to listen and a kind word are as important as knowledge. My mother loves her new doctor because he makes her feel like more than just another patient.

After visiting with dozens of doctors, in my opinion, these three are the biggest pieces to being a good doctor. The longer I thought about it, the more I believe that these are the same parts of a good Church. The people who represent the Lord through his Church are important. What and how we teach are vital. How people interact with each other gives the Church a personal feel.

I am not saying that these are all there are to a Church. But these are three big factors in the life of a Church. The good news is that each of these can be improved by attention and effort. We can be more welcoming. We can put the right people in the right places. We can always improve our teaching. We can stretch ourselves to be more friendly.

How many doctors lose patients to another location because of something they could have changed, but didn’t? I wonder how many Churches lose people and they never go back to Church at all because of things we could have done better but didn’t?

Through the year I have learned that a really good doctor is hard to find. I hope that a good Church is not so rare.

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