Staying at the ice cream store
This post is from the defunct blog “Dying Church”
And so it came to pass that some quit the ice cream store. Still, many ice cream stores stayed in business. In the ice cream belt, people built newer and bigger stores with new flavors of ice cream nobody had imagined before. A whole industry published books on how to run a successful ice cream store. Most books were gimmicks, but by the time people realized this, they were reading the next book that promised exactly the same thing.
But some didn't quit the ice cream store. In many parts, sales went down, and people didn't want to eat ice cream any more. Some longed for how it used to be. Others were threatened, because all they knew how to do was to scoop ice cream. Some store employees were secretly excited and a little bit scared, because they realized there were better things to do than serve ice cream. Although it could cost them their jobs, they believed that something better was coming.
One day a group of ice cream store managers got together. They talked for a while, and realized that what was happening at their store wasn't unique. They also realized that not everybody is cut out to quit the business and start something new.
As they got talking, they began to list their thoughts about what to do. They all agreed that there are two main problems with ice cream stores: they don't serve healthy food, and they are very expensive to run. Their two main costs are paid staff and buildings, and it was hard to think of how to run a store without these.
But they also began to list some good things about their ice cream stores:
- Some of their loyal customers who used to like ice cream still liked to get together at the store, but they were ready to try something new.
- Some stores had started to sell healthier items on the menu, and could see ahead to the day that they stopped serving ice cream altogether and only served healthy things.
- Ice cream stores have lots of assets that can be used for better things than ice cream.
- Some managers thought they could use their ice cream store as a base to launch something different and healthier. They could use their assets to support former employees who had quit, or even those who had never stepped foot in an ice cream store.
Ice cream stores would never be what they used to, and the managers were sometimes a little bit jealous of those who had already quit. They could never decided if they were taking the easy or the hard route by deciding to stay.
They resolved to do the best they could in their context, serving as little ice cream as possible (smaller scoops!), while helping others realize that other foods are healthier. They resolved to be honest that the day of the ice cream store is over, and rather than crying about it, they wanted to help people see that it was a good thing.
There were still a lot of people who loved ice cream. Maybe it was better, they reasoned, to stay and help this group adapt, rather than allow somebody new to come in who was reading the latest books on how to build a better store, and would introduce new flavors and make the customers even fatter from eating even more ice cream.
They also started to look for ways to use the store for better things. They couldn't justify spending all that money on a store if all it was going to do was serve ice cream.
Most of all, they prayed that they would never stay at the ice cream store simply because it was a job. What kind of job is serving ice cream anyway?
Did the managers who stayed do the right thing? I don't know. I do know that some were right to quit, and they could never picture going back and serving ice cream again.
But for those who stayed, only God knows if they did the right thing, and only time will tell.