I Love Being "A Regular"

Every Tuesday morning Pete and I have our weekly meeting at the same restaurant. This has been our routine for well over 2 years, so it’s safe to say we’ve become “regulars”.

Here’s why I like being “a regular”:

  • Everybody know my name… I know you’re singing the song from Cheers right about now, but it’s really true.
  • I’m comfortable. I can relax because I know what to expect.
  • I order “the usual” and the wait staff know what “the usual” is for me. (In case you are curious, it’s a bowl of oatmeal with fresh strawberries and brown sugar and of course a cup of English Breakfast tea.)
  • I know the other regulars and they know me. There is a fun cast of characters that share our usual Tuesday morning routine… we’ve developed our own little community.

Why does this matter so much to me?

Belonging. I feel like I belong. I have a place. There are people who know me and miss me when I’m not there.

It’s amazing how such a core need can manifest itself in something as simple as where I eat breakfast.

It makes me wonder what I can do to help the people around me become “regulars”? What can I do to help my staff feel that they belong? That they contribute? That they are needed? That they are valued?

Being “a regular” gives me a glimpse of the power of community. It’s the unique connection that we share as humans to love, appreciate and encourage one another.

So, who in your life do you need to make feel like “a regular”?

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  • janowen December 2, 2008  

    maybe some new folks on my team and in our church. We’ve suffered alot of turnover, I’ve suffered alot of pain and it’s honestly hard to open up anymore. It’s hard to start over. It’s hard to keep giving.

    But I’m trying. I’m trying to remember that it doesn’t feel like home to everyone yet. Honestly, it doesn’t always feel like home to me anymore on certain days so I think that makes it difficult.

    I like feeling like a “regular” because I can be myself. Letting my true self show is not something I do immediately with people – I have to get really comfortable……I don’t think I wear a mask, but I just am more tentative. I don’t let ALL of me hang out! I feel a freedom when I feel known and feel like I belong…..no constrictions, just a freedom to be me – to cry or be silly or to be audacious or to be quiet. I just get to be the true me…..there is a relief in that.

  • kristiapplesauce December 2, 2008  

    This might sound kinda lame, but I need to start focusing on my family more in this area. For so long I have been coasting…thinking that they have “just been there” and for the most part – they have. But that’s not good enough for me any more. I would like to see them engage and be invited to the party if they so desire,not stand on the sidelines waiting. I fear that I have stepped on too many of their toes and expected too much out of them and I don’t like that I have taken them for granted. So yup, thanks for this post.

  • Jenni Catron December 3, 2008  

    @Jan – you bring up a great point that sometimes being a “regular” takes work… it means pushing through the discomfort knowing it does get better. And as a leader, you have the greater challenge of doing this for yourself AND for those you lead. You can help them become a “regular”. You can make their path a bit easier, but you have to push through the challenges for yourself. I know this year has been crazy for you… not easy… but you have an amazing heart and I know that you are leading your team through it. Praying for you!

    @kristiapplesauce – so true! Why do we sometimes take those closest to us for granted? You’ve challenge me to think about this more!

  • Heidi December 3, 2008  

    @KA wow..

    For me it’s in my Von’s (grocery store). This will be a weird answer I know. But I love being able to step in my Von’s with no one, just shopping in and out. Going to the cash register and them asking me about my day having an adult conversation without wanting me to do anything, except paper or plastic. To me that’s heaven.

    As a ministry director, I want the team to feel at home, I want this to be their team not mine. I want to work beside them but still lead. Since my ministry is IMPRESS, my team are the greeters, ushers, and cafe leaders. I want that newcomer to WALK in and feel like they are walking into a place of comfortability and be able to soak in the Word, not be fidgety or on edge and not be able to worship.

  • mandythompson December 3, 2008  

    I went to the original Cheers off of Boston Common… No body knew my name. LOL

    I recently eavesdropped on a job/hiring interview for Starbucks. One of things the manager expressed was that Associates and Baristas would learn the regulars’ drinks and names, thus adding to the “my home away from home” atmosphere.

    Did I just use the word “thus?”
    I’m so sorry!

  • Rachel December 3, 2008  

    1)Jessica in the morning. I am not a morning person, and neither is she… but we’re non-morning-roomies together. It’s weird when I don’t see her in the morning.
    2) Family
    3) Palmer… I know he’s my dog, but it’s weird when I’m gone and don’t have him with me.
    4) You and Ash at church. It’s really strange when I go and don’t see the two of you!
    5) A close circle of friends.
    6) My boss. I know that’s strange, but she and I are really good friends… work wouldn’t be normal without her here.
    7) Crosspoint. It’s really hard for me to miss a Sunday… my week feels thrown off if I haven’t been…

    Good post!

  • kevinwlloyd December 3, 2008  

    Great thought. In our ministry area, student ministry, we have the value of BELONG. We want everyone to feel like this is a place to belong first…before they have to feel the pressure to make any decisions about Christ. In essence, we want them to feel like “regulars”…I like that language.

    Here are a few things we do to help people belong or become “regulars”…
    – We have a team of adults/college students who have the job of doing nothing but connecting with students and helping students connect with each other. This may sound elemental, but it’s really quite difficult. See, as leaders I think we are always “doing” something, on the run, making “stuff” happen…so we don’t have time to really stop and connect with people. Thus, our core value of Belong doesn’t happen. So we have a team who are just there “to do” relationships. I don’t want them organizing anything, running anything, checking students in, etc…just hang out. PLay games, worship, sit with…hang out with students…and help them to belong. They also look for students who are sitting alone, approach them, find out their info, and connect them to other students who may attend the same school or be the same age.
    – Nametags. It’s sounds lame and like fake-authenticity…but it works. Bottom line, I can’t, nor can my staff, remember everyone’s name. And with 200 students each week they can’t remember each other’s names. So this helps do away with the awkwardness of having to say, “What’s your name?”
    – Gift Bags. This isn’t a new thing either…but we use it for our benefit. We all know that most people like new things, so upon registration we give a new student a gift bag. They like it. For us it makes it so easy to spot a first time guest. It also saves us the awkwardness of going up to a student and saying, “Is this your first time?” To which they respond, “No I’ve been here for a year.” At which point you feel like an idiot.

    Those are a few things we do. They aren’t rocket science…but they work for us. There are some other things we employ but this comment is long enough. I think I crossed the line from “comment” to “essay”. Sorry.

  • Nate December 3, 2008  

    The church office is where I feel like a “regular.” Since I’m volunteering, it’s not a place of “work” for me (although, from the atmosphere there, it’s hardly a mundane place of “work” for anyone). I love being able to hop from desk to desk and hold meaningful conversations with my brothers and sisters on staff.

    Another place I feel like a “regular” is at the Qube Lounge in the Hyatt Morristown. Nancie, one of the bartenders, knows exactly what I want when I show up. She even knew to tell me as soon as I got there one day, “We discontinued the lobster mac and cheese, but I think you’ll like the blue crab mac.” On Friday nights I usually swing by after a movie at the Clearview on the other side of the plaza, so I swing by for a quick bite. On Thursdays, I’m at the church office, and I often crave a burger from the lounge on those nights. And on Sundays, since church is in the Hyatt for us, I’m there all day, and usually end the 16-hour church day with some good times at Qube.

    As far as someone in my life who I need to make feel like a “regular,” I’d probably say my parents. We have a very closed relationship and haven’t really been able to feel comfortable together. So maybe that’s an area I really need to work on.

  • Jenni Catron December 3, 2008  

    @Heidi – I love your intentionality with you IMPRESS team!

    @Mandy – you are so articulate with your “thus”, where are the “thees and thous”? The Starbucks story is a great example of being so intentional about this as an organization.

    @Rachel – I love that I’m one of your “regulars”. You are one of mine too!

    @Kevin – great ideas with your student leaders! Simple great! You guys have put a lot of intentional thought into this and I know it makes a huge difference.

    @Nate – love your examples.. you guys at Liquid Church are amazing at community!