Hospitals and Churches

Written by cycleguy on February 17th, 2010

First off…let me reassure you this is not going to be a post about  “the church is a hospital for sinners not a rest home for saints.”   So…with that out of the way please allow me to share some lessons from my recent experience from surgery.

Lesson #1:  Communication, Communication, Communication!! From the time when the date of surgery was scheduled by my doctor, the hospital communicated.  They called to verify the date.  Then they called to set up my pre-op date and what I needed to do when I got there and what I could expect.  I was told what was going to happen on the day of surgery, where I was to go, and about how long it would take.  On the day of surgery, I was taken to my room and almost immediately a nurse named Scott came in and began talking to Jo and me about what he was going to be doing and what else was going to happen.  All told I was visited by 5 different people (the doctor’s nurse and anesthesiologist being two of them) and everything was explained in detail for me.  The lesson for the church: How do we communicate the message of Christ?  How do we communicate to our people about the happenings and events?

Lesson #2: I was greeted by people who actually seemed to enjoy their job and wanted to be there. From the lady who first greeted me when I got there, to the nurses, etc. they all made me feel like I was important.  They made sure Jo was also comfortable as they included her in all communication.  Some may get tired of the constant influx of people but I was glad.   I was confident in my doctor and confident that all would go well.  They reinforced it. The lesson for the church:  Do you have greeters?  Do they act like they enjoy what they do?  How about when people make their way through your building, are they greeted with smiles and a helpful attitude?  I think someone has put it well: you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Lesson #3: Follow up. They followed-up with Jo, letting her know the details that I (obviously) was in no shape to comprehend.  The doctor came to talk with her and give her the details of the surgery.  They gave written instructions that I needed to know/do.  Nothing was taken for granted.   Explanations were given for any meds I was prescribed, even so far as to say, “I am prescribing this but he doesn’t have to fill it or take if he doesn’t want to.”  (For the record: I didn’t and I am not).  I had to call the doctor to set up an appointment in 3 weeks and had some questions.  The receptionist returned my call and since the nurse was busy was unable to answer my questions.  She said she would find out and call me back.  The lesson for the church: follow-up, follow-up, follow-up.  From a letter of thanks for attending your worship experience to remembering names for (hopefully) future visits, it is becoming even more important these days.  Some like to do cookies and phone calls.  I admit that I have never been too “hep” on that but for some it works.  Do it with a purpose!

Lesson #4: Make every person feel like they truly matter. I know, I know, a hospital is a business and count on people for their operating capital, but I truly left Bloomington Hospital feeling like I mattered.  My wife works for the local BMV and as a CSR (Customer Service Rep) she is to do all she can to make that person feel as though they matter…no matter if they have been jerks or not…no matter the difficulty of their transaction…no matter whether she can complete their transaction…they are to feel as though they matter.  Some get it; some don’t but it is not because of her.  The lesson for the church: Every person must be made to feel as though they matter.  People come to our/your church fellowship for various reasons and with different things on their mind.  They need to leave feeling as though they mattered.

I am sure there are more lessons-my mind is getting foggy.  🙂   What do you think?  Can you add any thoughts to mine?  Please feel free to do so.  I look forward to hearing from you.


14 Comments so far ↓

  1. Owen Rigsby says:

    Have you seen that video, “What if Starbucks treated you like churches?”

    Hope you are feeling better.

  2. Michael says:

    Good thoughts…Everyone one of those categories is what we used to teach our sales-staff…hmmm…

  3. Ike says:

    I do not disagree with your thoughts but…..

    It seems the church has been taken over by an alien. This enemy has commandered the church to fulfill his own desires!

    Who is this invading enemy? It is man! And he has brought into the church his lust for worldly satisfaction and pleasure. The church has become man-centered instead of God-centered, and the focus is on felt needs instead of God’s glory. These problems are not peripheral things. I’m convinced that the very heart and nature of the church and the Gospel are at stake. The great need of the hour is revival and reform that produces true churches where God is the center, the glory of God is the focus, and the Bible is the authoritative and sufficient manual.

  4. cycleguy says:

    Owen: I think I have seen the video reference but have never had a chance to see it. I will do that sometime today. thanks for visiting my blog and taking time to comment.

  5. cycleguy says:

    Michael: honest! i was not in on your meetings. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

  6. cycleguy says:

    Ike: while I agree that tragically it appears that men have taken over the church, I also disagree. jesus said the gates of hell will not prevail against His church. The church is here to glorify God for sure but we also have been commissioned to “Go and reach.” While our goal is to glorify God, we also need to bring the Gospel to men, to show them that only in Christ can their needs be met. I am merely suggesting that when people do come to our fellowship that they be treated with dignity and respect and as though they matter…because they do. Thanks for the comment. I hope it stimulates some conversation.

  7. Jim F. says:

    I realy like this post. It has me pondering.


  8. cycleguy says:

    Jim; thanks. Ponder away! 🙂

  9. Cameyg says:


    AHA! See? Many reasons why you had that biking accident..

    All my stays in the hospital have helped me in ways that had I not ever been in one – I wouldn’t have gleened so much from. 🙂

    Now… seriously… don’t push yourself too hard. And be kind to Jo would ya? That woman loves you! (No.. really.. it’s not off topic at all.)

    Much love & dangerous prayers!

  10. cycleguy says:

    Camey: yep lessons can be found in “strange beds.” As for going easy on Jo: tell that to her! She is upset with me for wanting to do more. Women… 🙂 Thanks for the love and dangerous prayers.

  11. Pinky says:

    I totally agree with all your points. It seems a lack of communication is the basis of most conflict…..

  12. cycleguy says:

    Pinky: when it all shakes down you are probably right on the money. Thanks for stopping by again. 🙂

  13. Jan Frame says:

    You are quite gifted at writing. I wouldn’t have thought to compare my hospital experience to the church, but all the points you made were on the mark & has me thinking hard about each one, especially #4. I really like this post! Hope you’re feeling better everyday Bill.

  14. cycleguy says:

    Thanks Jan. I reckon being a pastor has me keeping my eyes open for “weird” stuff. 🙂 I am feeling better every day even though today is a little tough. Think I overdid it yesterday some. 😮