Sue Smith CBA Board Chairman

Nothing is better than autumn in Michigan—until it ends abruptly overnight. Temperatures fall, the snow starts to signal winter, and Christmas retail is in full swing. As our customers enter our front door, we watch them exhale, stomp the snow from their feet, and get their bearings. They seem to relax, both in body and spirit.

As they shop, they find more than Christ-centered product. They find an experience of Christ’s presence, engagement with Him and His people. We cannot manufacture this respite from the hustle and bustle. It’s the living, breathing existence of God in Christian stores across the globe. His presence brings indescribable warmth and peace. I would call this the best of the best in customer experience.

INVITING IN GOD’S PRESENCE

We begin our day here as many stores do with prayer together. Our time before the Throne of Grace is an actual invitation for God to come and work in this place. It continues to amaze me how when we just show up and then get out of His way, He dwells here. He is felt by so many. Time together in prayer is a reminder that we collectively depend on God to do what we cannot. God shows up in His people and it’s an honor to be that vessel.

My friend Heather Lynn Trost owns The Greatest Gift & Scripture Supply Store in Pueblo, Colorado. She recently commented on a customer who took the time to say how much she loved the store. The woman said,

“Thank you for today. I’ve never just come in to rest. It was exactly what God knew I needed. He’s so present in your space; no wonder it’s so peaceful. It may have been a short break, but I felt so refreshed. It felt like I could breathe again. I’m not sick or busy or stressed, so I was surprised I felt so relieved. I feel rewarded for doing what God says. ‘Rest, take time for Me, and praise.’ I’m just filled with joy to overflowing and needed to share with you.”

She didn’t buy anything, yet it was the best transaction of the day.

SENDING THEM OUT

The more we’ve become aware that our store is indeed an extension of the church—a retreat from the world— we’ve tried to send customers out with a blessing of something like “Merry Christmas” or “God bless you.” It has stopped them in their tracks as they take it in, smile, and bless us in return.

Take time today to thank the Lord for those He sends your way.