After challenging the church recently to invite more people to church, I specifically mentioned that you can invite a cashier when shopping. This spurred some very good thoughts from Elyssa Ranck. I'm including them for your consideration:
When you asked us to commit to inviting at least two people to church this week, I didn’t raise my hand. I’d like to address some of the reasons that arose from being a cashier myself.
I’m a cashier and I work with other cashiers. I know what happens to tracts and church cards/invitations. About 95% of the time they end up in the trash by the time the person who handed them out has fully left the store. On a rare occasion, the card is put in the drawer below the register where it sits until another cashier cleans the “trash” out. I’ve never personally seen anyone take them seriously. So I’ve started considering handing out tracts and invitations as wasteful. But I’ve been thinking…Is it really?
Every time information like that is handed to us, for at least a few seconds, we think about God. Sometimes it starts a conversation on which churches people go to or that they don’t. Customers hear this conversation and may even join. If it isn’t too busy, we may even give reasons for why we do or don’t attend church and/or why we go to a particular church which leads to discussing at least on some level what and why we believe. So now I’m thinking, handing invitations to church to the cashier isn’t necessarily wasteful.
There’s another factor that plays a pretty big role in how receptive the cashier is to at least looking at the card. How did the person who gave us the card carry themselves and interact with others while they were in the store? Were they having a conversation with us while we rang up their groceries? What was the conversation about? Did we see or hear about them being rude to anyone else in the store? How have they behaved in the past? If they didn’t have a conversation with us or the conversation wasn’t God-honoring or we saw or heard anything negative about their behavior, the customer is going to be seen as a hypocrite and anything they hand out will be ignored at best but more than likely mocked. In the future, the cashiers will try to find ways to avoid having to deal with that particular customer and/or be rude to them. If the person conducts themselves in a godly way the whole time they are in the store, we will usually skim the information before throwing it away. We start to watch that customer every time they come in the store or any other place we happen to see them. Each time we see and hear them acting in accordance with what the card they handed us would indicate, our respect for them increases as does our willingness to engage in conversation with them and truly listen to what they have to say, even if we don’t believe it. Oftentimes, they become our favorite customers and we will go out of our way to help them and/or talk to them.
So go ahead and hand out those cards but watch out!
- Pray before you do. Pray for the person to whom you hand the card. Pray for anyone who sees you handing out the card. Pray for anyone who is involved in any conversation that comes as a result of handing out the card. Pray for the empowerment of grace to act in accordance with a holy life at all times because you never know who may be watching.
- Smile. Grumpy, judgmental looking people don’t help others see God as loving, kind or merciful. There is a place for reproof but the checkout line is not it.
- Engage in conversation. Not just when you hand out the card but any time you go in afterwards. Even if you only have time to say “hi,” it goes a long way. Take time to at least attempt to learn the person’s name. And do NOT hand them a card every time, especially if you are there multiple times in a week. It shows the person that you don’t really care.