Author Michael Hyatt defines a “wow” experience as an experience that exceeds expectations. He notes that “It creates delight amazement, wonder, or awe.” He states that in order to be successful or heard in our noisy world, “you must exceed the customer’s current expectations.”
That set me to thinking about the things I am involved in, and how our Christian faith is perceived by those whom we are trying to mentor. Though the students I teach, the kids who come to mid week club, or others that I am trying to influence with the good news, aren’t customers, I do want them to “buy into” the truth that is Jesus Christ and all that He has said in His Word.
Whether we are offering a program, a Bible study, a class or some other type of mentoring experience, the following questions suggested by Hyatt may get us thinking about how we can exceed the expectations of the participants. Rather than thinking in terms of “a customer,” substitute that word for “child,” “student” or “teen.” The questions Hyatt proposes are:
- What specific expectations does the typical customer bring to this experience?
- What does failing to meet customers’ expectations for this experience look like?
- What does exceeding customers’ expectations for this experience look like?
How can I exceed my student’s expectations? How can I exceed the expectations of the kids that come to mid-week club at our church, or the expectations of parents and campers at our summer day camp? It will take some thought, but I find that these questions motivate me to search for ways to do that.
Furthermore, how can we exceed expectations in the way we love our friends and our enemies? How can we exceed expectations in our workplace? How can we exceed expectations in the way we give and in the way we forgive? How can we exceed expectations in the way we treat other drivers on the road? Then there are our own families. Home- where we let our hair down and don’t always guard our mouths the way we should. Home- where our families see us for all that we are. Can we not choose to exceed expectations even there, in front of our siblings, spouses, parents or children?
After all, don’t we have a God who exceeds our expectations? In His wisdom, He planned and created a finely-tuned universe for us- out of nothing! He is a superb designer, wise beyond our wildest imaginations! Now, some 6,000 thousand years after Creation, we humans are still like mere children as we strive to understand the complexities of the human body, life itself, our planet, and the vast, unexplored reaches of the universe. Creation- WOW!
Then consider the salvation our loving God offers to a rebellious world. He has done all of the work. We are the recipients of grace that should blow us away; of love beyond our comprehension, by which He calls us His own children! Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, humbled himself to become a man and to die to pay for the transgressions of sinful human beings. WOW! Accept Him, and He forgives us for all of our sins, gives us the free gift of righteousness, redeems us from slavery to sin and grants us eternal life! WOW! He sends His Holy Spirit into our lives to empower us, and the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-wise God, invites us into intimate communion with Him through prayer. WOW! He views us as already glorified, seated in the heavenly realms with Jesus! Eternal life – WOW! His grace, mercy and love far exceed our expectations. How can we keep from singing His praise?
So, as His followers, shouldn’t we exceed the expectations of a watching world? Peter writes, “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (1 Peter 2:12). The word “good” in that verse means “beautiful.” It’s a call to excellence, a call to exceed expectations!
It is a noisy world. So many voices are clamouring to be heard. Maybe one of the ways we can make sure our children, grandchildren, or students hear our voices, is to exceed their expectations in the way we communicate the good news. Let us never be mediocre when it comes to presenting the Gospel. This is the best possible news! Should it not stir within the hearts of those who hear it, delight, amazement, wonder and awe? All of eternity should echo with our collective WOW!