Matt Stoltzfus – Lead Student Pastor
I grew up in Pennsylvania and I am an avid Philly sports fan. Naturally one of the first things I have done since coming to the Phoenix area is look for any chance to go to a Diamondbacks – Phillies game. So last week Karen and I along with our kids; Connor, Payton and Isaiah had our first experience at Chase Field.
We entered the stadium with our “cheap seat” tickets and began our trek up to the top. We were about half way there when I noticed our daughter Payton holding on to the railing as if her life depended on it. She would go up the stairs going hand over hand on the railing as to not lose her grip. When we got to our seats Payton wouldn’t even turn around to face the field. I knew she didn’t like heights but never imagined it to this point. For twenty minutes Karen tried to coach her through it but Payton would have none of it. Meanwhile I smiled, I may have snapped a picture or two but I definitely was thinking of how I could use this as a teaching illustration or a blog post.
I am an experience guy. You can be assured if I have a good experience I will come back. Not only that but I will tell others about it as well. Payton was not having a good experience. And because she was not having a good experience, none of us were having a good experience.
Finally after exhausting all options, Karen decided she was going to go down to Customer Service and see if they would do anything for us. They did! They didn’t just move us but they moved us all the way down to the outfield fence. Oh, and they didn’t ask us to pay a penny for it.
I have told everyone that would listen about the great experience we had with the Diamondbacks. I’m even considering becoming a fan. I remember a good experience. I think this is true for all of us. But, we also remember a bad experience. Like the one I had at a restaurant, a restaurant that will remain nameless, just this past week. Now, I’m not going to be spiteful and run this restaurant into the ground. I have simply chosen not to go back.
So this got me thinking. As a Student Pastor am I creating a great experience for students? Are we as a ministry creating an experience where students are accepted as they are? Are we creating an experience where students feel loved? Are we creating an experience where students are challenged in their relationship with God? Do students leave here wanting to come back because the experience left them wanting more?
Then personally, how do people feel when they meet me for the first time? Second time? Third time? Do they leave thinking? “Man, there’s something about Matt. He’s got something I want. I feel like I can be myself around him. I wish I could hang out with him more. He has such a positive outlook on life.” Is this the experience I am creating for those around me?
So I leave you with this question. Are you creating a great experience?
P.S. As of now I have decided against becoming a Diamondbacks fan. Stay tuned for updates