Who is the Customer?

In Business Consulting methods such as Lean Thinking and Strategic Analysis, we are asked one simple question before any other. Who is the customer and what do they need? The customer can be an individual or a group of individuals or a corporation with a board and officers. In our missiological world we are dealing with all of creation and our Lord, Jesus is the customer. If we ask what does he want, the usual response is converts, for people to be saved, yet as Wright points out, our role, is to work for the restoration of all creation as well as evangelize, teach, heal et all [1].

Jesus told Peter to feed my sheep, and through Peter the church. Part of this is to work to mitigate the suffering of people, churched and un-churched, we translate this into food banks (incredibly valuable to those who need them), prayer, visiting the sick, training in life skills and other one on one type activity. Jesus also told us to make disciples of all (wo)men, everywhere.

Last month I had the pleasure of sitting in a small leaders group with Alan and Kathryn Scott of Colerain Vineyard, Northern Ireland. A community of some thousands of believers, meeting in a purpose built mission center. Alan told us that when they discerned that their objective was to “find and love the lost” they reviewed all activities and stopped anything that was just inward looking. Including the men’s bacon roll breakfast. All new activity (mission) must be looking out from the church to the community. What would we find if we did such an audit on our own fellowships?  Spotlight and disclosing tools such as these can help us to look past our history, see what we are actually doing and re-focus on the job we were given.

[1] (N. T. Wright 2011,NP)