When I first got an iPhone, I was so eager to try out any app that I thought could make my life easier. While the majority of apps I’ve downloaded have been useful and have worked as expected (I particularly like these 10 apps), there was one app in particular that was a big let-down. The official Target store app.

My wife and I like to shop at Super Target as they sell a decent amount of brands that we like to support such as Method, Seventh Generation, Newman’s Own and Yes To Carrots (Cucumbers, Blueberries, etc.). Naturally, an app that had a digital version of the weekly ad (we don’t get the newspaper) that could also tell me what items were in stock locally and even show me the aisle location of a particular product sounded intriguing. Plus, it was free.

I downloaded the app and used it without a hitch until one night, at three in the morning, I got a (loud) coupon alert. A coupon alert? At three AM? Why, Target?!

Sleep deprivation? There’s an app for that (sorry, couldn’t resist).

Needless to say, having the Target app on my phone was no longer a priority. It didn’t matter how many good features it had–it had a fatal flaw that caused me to get rid of it.

So what’s the point of describing this little app-venture? Just like Target had a chance to wow me with their iPhone app and disappointed, I wonder how many opportunities the church has to wow people that, for lack of a better term, get botched? I wonder how many times our “brand extensions” such as people, processes and even politics have malfunctioned, leaving behind nothing but anger and resentment?

I personally know of more than a few people that have become disillusioned with the church and I’m guessing you might know a few yourself. Now, I’m not talking about a person who has  what amounts to a moral reason for wanting to leave (such as not wanting to be restricted by any “rules”), rather, I’m talking about a person who has had a bad church experience that never had to happen in the first place.

The question is, what can be done in such a situation? Sadly, in some cases, the answer may be nothing, but in others surely there is hope waiting in the wings. I know one thing for sure: making an effort is a good first step (yet somehow this seems to get overlooked too often).

Just as all Christians are apologists in some way, shape or form, so are all Christians imperfect in at least some way–we are all extensions of our brand for better or worse. Just as an app has the ability to make a brand like Target either stronger or more diluted, the extensions of a church can build up or tear down the church’s brand.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if the church had a “customer service department” that helped resolve problems? What if problems could be solved by knowledgable and friendly “customer service representatives”? Well, such a department does not officially exist, but there’s no reason you can’t be a friendly and knowledgable customer service rep for your local church.

What I hope you take away from this article is the fact that you are a representative of the Adventist brand, the Christian brand, in everything you do. You can make a bad situation better. For that matter, you can make a good situation better. You can also make any situation worse (sometimes by just doing nothing). Take action next time you see a situation where somebody is hurting. When a person becomes disillusioned or gets dissed, when the church is dysfunctional, when things are in disarray, when relationships have fallen into disrepair, when people get disfellowshipped, when reality becomes distorted amongst a personal disaster or disturbance, when a person’s situation becomes disheartening and their faith in the church starts to dissolve due to despair and when there is disgust and disappointment… don’t disappear!

Don’t sit on the sidelines–put yourself in the game and make a play.

If you don’t, who will?

P.S. – Disgruntled, despondent, distracted, distanced, dissatisfied, disproportionate… I got a million of ’em.

P.S.S – Have you had any experience with resolving these types of situations? Leave a comment to let me know what happened.