you’ve got to be kidding

today was a fun day for youth ministry. i was paid to setup and play halo and risk in the student center for 8 hours. not a bad life.

since, i was hanging out with teens most of the day i wasn’t in my study that often. i checked in every now and then just to make sure that i hadn’t missed anything important. during one of those check in’s i found a message from from someone i didn’t recognized. it was a long distance number so i thought i probably should call it back soon. i took a few minutes away form the youth and placed the long distance call. the second the guy answered the phone and i mentioned my name, he kicked into a sales routine for a video casting program that is geared towards ministries. i was dumbfounded. i could not believe that this guy had asked me to call him back on my church’s dime do that he could make a sales call. i had to make sure that he had actually done this so i asked him “let me get this straight. you asked me to call you back long distance so you could try and sell me something?” he said “yes” but then told me that if it was a problem he could call me right back on their line. “nope,” i answered “you pretty much just told me all i ever need to hear about your company. please don’t ever call here again. good bye.”

i don’t know what it is like in the real world but in the church world this crap goes on all the time. i probably get a message each week with a saleperson getting me to call them back so they can give me their sales pitch. it would be one thing if this was a salesperson that i had a relationship with – those phone calls are a good thing. i know who they are and they have built up my trust by following through on what they say and actually carrying on conversations with me passed just selling me something. but these messages are from “cold calls.” why should i use my time to do your job for you?

i was raised by a salesman. i know how hard “cold calls” are. yet i also know that if you build up enough relationships after awhile you don’t have to make that many “cold calls.” i wish more ministry-based businesses care more about relationships than just making sales.

i leave by bragging on one company that i love – uthstuph. i love them because not only do they do things right but we actually know who they are. we weren’t friends before we started buying t-shirts from them but from our first phone call we could tell that they were concerned with more than just making a one time sell to us. jessica, my assistant, and i both know several of the people at uthstuph and it is not uncommon for our “order” calls to go on for quite awhile talking about allot of things that don’t seem related to the sell. it’s because of the fact that they care about our relationship that we have ordered everything we need printed from them over the past 5 years. in fact, sometimes we look for other things we can send their way. those of you who know me know that it is no small thing when i give a business (rather than individuals) glowing reviews in public. i wish more companies were like uthstuph.