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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN



A small town restaurant had been in business for many years. It had a reputation in the community for consistently serving good meals. As the community grew, so did business at the restaurant. The restaurant employees were always friendly to long-term patrons and visitors alike. Folks were met at the door and taken to a table where they were greeted with a menu and a friendly conversation. Almost everyone was greeted by their first name, and a newcomer never made it to a table without sharing his name, occupation and place of residence.

A few years ago new cooks came to the restaurant and some new items were added to the menu. The food was great! Word spread quickly throughout the community and business really began to pick up. The crowds at the restaurant were so big that parking attendants had to direct traffic in the lot and temporary tables and chairs had to be used almost every day. Everyone was excited about the increase in business.

The restaurant employees tried to greet everyone and maintain the warm, friendly atmosphere that had been their trademark for years. But there were just too many names and faces to remember. And the cooks were struggling to maintain the quality of the food while producing the volume required to fill all the orders. The quality of the restaurant began to suffer. Something had to be done!

The restaurant managers called a meeting to discuss the problem. Although it seemed that the biggest problem was the size of the building, it was decided that the keys to the success of the restaurant were food, service and atmosphere. They decided to focus on the quality rather than the size of the restaurant Size would have to be addressed eventually, but not until the quality of the restaurant had improved.

It was decided that food quality was everyone's responsibility. All the employees were asked to know more than just the menu items. They must also know the ingredients. Everyone was to help in the kitchen.

The employees were asked to serve every customer as if they were serving a Thanksgiving meal in their own home. And they must be well-rested and mentally prepared to serve before coming to work each day.

It was decided that the atmosphere must be warm and friendly. Customers should be greeted by their first names. There were too many customers for any one employee to know everyone's name, although one of the cook's did know most of their names. Each employee was asked to know a small group of customers of the restaurant and members of the community.

In the weeks that followed, the quality of the restaurant improved dramatically.   Business has continued to grow, and it won't be long until a new building will have to be considered.

May the Lord bless the Smithville Church of Christ with continued growth and its members with an intense desire to know and share the gospel, serve fellow members, visitors, and the community, and maintain more than just first-name relationships.

For His Cause,
Tim Woodward