June 2006 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. --John 15:11 I have enjoyed and benefited from meeting with area ministers in their cluster gatherings this summer. They share information, ideas, and challenges with one another. I have become better acquainted with partners with whom I have worked by phone. In one of the gatherings, the following was shared and I have to pass on to you. The Pike Fish Market in Seattle is known for the raucous behavior of the staff. When one hollers out an order, others throw fish or crabs as they yell a repeat of the order. They tease customers and engage passers-by in conversation and jokes. They have become famous less for their fish and more for their antics. A video tape has been made describing the business philosophy of the fish market. They give serious attention to four simple principles that, as it turns out, can help a church function better. (The video tape is very expensive, so borrow it from Dave Laubach in National Ministries.) Fish's four guides to life together are: Play That's why the yelling, throwing fish, and using whole fish like puppets to talk to customers. Be There Listen only to that customer. Do not be distracted. Do everything possible to meet that customer’s need. Make Their Day Whether they are buying or looking, make the encounter unforgettable. If they want to try to catch the fish, get them an apron and let them try. It's not about selling fish. They can buy that anywhere. Choose Your Attitude You can be grumpy or cheerful, but grumpy has no chance of improving the world. You can immediately see applications of these principles in a church setting. You individually have worked diligently at some of these for years. In group meetings, if the mood is getting dark or stormy, the leader can say, "Wait a moment. Let us play!" or "let's back up and choose another attitude." Maybe you can help a stuck church benefit from good ideas from a non-church source. Have fun this summer!