Keeping Your “House” Irresistibly Clean

Keeping Your “House” Irresistibly Clean

       Dang! Jessica Hume @flikr.com must have been at my desk

I admit it (I do a lot of confessing in these blogs – it’s quite therapeutic). I am not a world-class housekeeper. We are a family of “pile-ers.”  We’re not quite to the hoarding stage – though that could be in our future – but getting rid of stuff (a high-class technological term) is no easy task.

I have the best of intentions of reading that bag full of great information I picked up at this year’s State Fair…and, oh yeah, last year’s State Fair too. So it goes on “the pile.” There’s one in the living room, there’s one on the kitchen table, and there’s at least two on the dining room table. Don't get me started about the basement.

But when we have guests come over, I love it. I love it because I feel compelled to do something with the piles of paper. Why? Because I want people to focus on the company and not on: “Oh my goodness, is Cesie next in line to be the star of ‘Hoarders’?”

Having guests in my home makes me want to stand a little taller (at 5’2” that takes a bit of doing). I want to take pride in the interior and the exterior of my home. So I sweep the porch. I go through the piles of paper and purge or (here comes a Life Hack) I find a beautiful scarf and cover it all up.

In today’s Leading Ideas, from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, there’s an excellent article, “5 Keys to Cultivating an Environment Irresistible to Emerging Generations.” It highlights: hospitality, anonymity, authenticity, mystery, and creativity.

It’s a great, quick read – don’t miss it.

Cultivating an “irresistible environment” should also include, “basic cleanliness.” And, it goes beyond what happens when people walk through the front doors. Just how “irresistible” is the exterior of your building?

This summer I had the chance to visit a few churches. As I drove up, a number of them looked great. I could tell there was someone who cared about how the grounds looked. And, I assumed (and generally rightly so) that what I saw on the outside, indicated what I might find on the inside. Mind you, these places didn't look like they were newly minted golf courses. Their grounds looked like someone cared enough to say “welcome” not only to newcomers but to the surrounding neighborhood as well.

Unfortunately, I did see some church grounds that gave me pause. The weeds (I kid you not) were about as tall as me (see my aforementioned height). I then started noticing how dead everything looked. Was that an indication of what I might find inside? I saw a sign pointing where I should go. It looked like it hadn’t been painted in at least 15 years. The exterior was so distracting that it sadly jaded me about what I might experience once I walked through the doors.

Bottom line:

When you’re having guests or family members over to your church or organization, let them know that you care by making it fabulous – inside and out.
Believe me, I get it. I know it’s a lot of work (thus the many scarf-strewn piles in my house). But, it could mean the difference between someone being willing to make the hard decision of walking through your doors or just driving on by.

Hospitality comes in all forms. Don’t forget about the basics. Sweep, weed…and cover the piles.
Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” yes, really) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past fifteen years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She doesn’t need a hoarder’s intervention…yet. She was the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. She is available to consult with churches. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity.

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Cesie Delve Scheuermann
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.