What Walt Disney World Can Teach All Of Us At Ridgeview
Last week we made our way to Walt Disney World for our family vacation. It is the most visited vacation destination in the world. I read that twelve million people come through their gates annually. They have around 62,000 employees they call cast members which makes them the largest single sight employer in the United States. What stuck out to me was their attention to the details, their making me feel welcome, and their going the extra mile to help me with my questions.
This was my first trip back to Disney World since 1986. I was a little overwhelmed and confused after being away for twenty-four years. Questions arose in my mind like where's my hotel, what bus do I get on to get to the park, how do I purchase the tickets, how do I use the meal plan, and what are the essential rides I need to experience in the park? Disney cast members were extremely helpful to me. They were easily accessible out by the doors and gates showing me exactly where to go and answering all my questions. They took pride in their jobs and who they worked for and the experiences they were providing our family.
I know I have to be a little careful in comparing Disney World and the Church. But, here are the takeaways for me: We have guests who show up at Ridgeview who have similar questions I had at Disney. Where do I park? Which entrance do I use? What do I wear? Where do my kids go and are they going to be safe? Am I going to be made uncomfortable/look silly in the worship service because I don't know what to do? Are the people greeting me in the parking lot and doors glad to see me? Did I experience the love of Christ at this church and love from His people?
As Christ followers we must do everything we can to help people who show up at Ridgeview for the first time experience the love of Jesus Christ and hear the gospel message. We must be extremely diligent in removing any and all barriers that may hinder people from hearing the good news of Jesus Christ. So, that means we put people in the parking lot to welcome and direct first time guests, we put people at the doors as greeters to welcome and direct where to go from there, we buy the best children's curriculum out there and expect a lot from our Ridgekidz leaders, and we put our best efforts into our worship gathering. If Walt Disney World puts all that effort and hospitality into people coming to see Mickey, how much more effort should we put into what we do as people come to see Jesus?
I was challenged to continue giving my best to Christ and His Church by watching those who work at Disney. I am thankful that many of you at Ridgeview have that same attitude. Let's keep at it! The stakes are high!