Quite A Change!
My Arkansas City, Kansas High School friend, Geoffrey Adams, is now Jeff Adams, Ph.D. and the senior pastor of a very large urban church in Kansas City/Raytown, Missouri. Here is how they describe themselves on their website:
…you’ll quickly see that we don’t look like a typical Midwestern church. We are a multi-cultural, multi-generational congregation. Our church family consists of members of all ages from over 30 countries. Over 35 languages are spoken within our walls, including Spanish, Mandarin, French, Korean, and Swahili.
When the church was founded in the late 1940’s, Kansas City Baptist Temple sounded just fine. Pastor Adams speaks with respect and appreciation about the foundation that was established then and that has been maintained for decades through the commitment of members, pastoral teams and staff. But, in recent years the members and pastors felt the name was not effectively describing the message of the church to those they wanted to reach.
At first they took the Kentucky Fried Chicken to KFC approach. Most members said KCBT and hoped no one would ask them to explain what kind of Baptists they were and why Baptists would have a temple, especially one that didn’t look anything like a temple. Finally they decided it was time to develop a new name that would take the emphasis off the description of a building and put it on their faith and what they felt it had to offer to others. Thus, Graceway.
I think the congregation will see their membership–and a resulting positive impact in the lives of members–grow dramatically over the next next year, as the new name allows them to be viewed differently by those who drive by or read or hear about them. It’s not that the message of the church has changed, it’s that a potential barrier has been removed and replaced with an open door.
What Barriers Keep People From Knowing The Real you?
In June I wrote an article about how we change and improve over time, especially in our knowledge and skills at work. I was inspired by watching the first Tron then the new one. I heard from many people who could relate to the concept. It may be, however, that there are barriers preventing coworkers, colleagues and others from seeing you as you really are, even when you know you have improved. Some of the most significant:
1. Appearance: Even if it seems there is no expectation for good appearance at work (and it seems there isn’t in some workplaces), you should dress tastefully, appropriately and in a way that reflects good judgment for the work situation. Hairstyles, makeup, jewelry, fragrance and clothing choices should be an enhancement not a distraction to internal or external customers. The appearance of your workspace counts too! If anyone has ever “joked” about some aspect of your appearance, figure they were serious.
2. Conversation and Verbal Style: Habitual movements and gestures, speech patterns, tone, volume and rate of speaking, verbal habits and what you talk about most often, all can irritate, frustrate and distract people or engage them. Ask your best friend to tell you habits you have that someone might find problematic. Try to not let it hurt your feelings!
3. Results: Even though you may feel you have more to offer than others realize, they are looking for proof. If you aren’t getting positive results most of the time, living up to your promises and fulfilling the tasks you’ve been given, feeling new and improved on the inside won’t matter.
The bottom line: Make sure you’re right about what you have been contributing and what value you can offer to others and the organization. Then, identify and remove any barriers so people can get to know and appreciate the real you for the first time or all over again. If Graceway can do it after 68 years as KCBT, you can!