What Causes People To Go “Humm”


Let me begin with an observation which I think most of us have experienced . . . .

When a salesman, business, or company offers me a better price after I refuse their offer, they are admitting that they were willing to have me pay more if they could have gotten me to accept it.

Has that happened when . . . .

  • You called to cancel a credit card because you no longer want to pay their annual charge, and they cancel the annual fee if you keep it.
  • You communicate in word or body movement that you are about to walk away from purchasing their car.
  • You call to cancel a magazine subscription, and they are willing to lower the annual subscription charge.  Or worse yet, you cancel it and they continue to send it to you (I imagine they want to bolster their subscription numbers?).

At times, you get the feeling that a business has been overcharging you, and its actions contribute to that suspicion.  It is only as you say in word or behavior that you are about to refuse the offer, that they begin to include more (include a free widget which wasn’t offered or even mentioned till now – humm), come up with a discount coupon (which was never mentioned before — humm), and/or lower the price (humm).

“Suddenly” — the business is willing to do more!  — and maybe even considerably more. 

Shoppers notice such shenanigans and often resent them.

The same can happen in a ministry! Whether it be a para-church ministry or the local church. When church or school attendance, finances, or general interest are in decline, “suddenly” the ministry or local church offers or does “more.” I understand the dynamics which operate and have found it easy to succumb to those currents if I was not careful and candid.

Our K-8 Christian school was maxed out! Multiple pre-school classes, double classes in K-5th, and a full 6, 7, 8th program — 414 students — with every room space taken! In fact, we had to move out the office personnel from their “classroom space” in order to accomodate. We set them up in the overflow space surrounding the auditorium! When that happens, when “customers” are knocking down our doors, the tendency is not to accommodate, to be less than we ought to be, to be less than we should be and would be — were we struggling.

A parent is . . . .

  • Not satisfied?
  • Unhappy?
  • Has a complaint?
  • Wants more?
  • Finds it too expensive?

Do you sense the potential hazards which accompany such a situation?

Now flip it!  When things are going “south” in a ministry, a Christian school, or a local church, there is the tendency to do more!  That “more” may well have been what should have been the case before things started going sideways.

And yes — the “shoppers” notice it!

That happens with para-church ministries, Christian schools, and local churches.  Suddenly, ministries show a level of interest not present before.  Now, free books, messages, Bible study helps, prayer lines, and/or lower priced items are suddenly available!

Strangely (and maybe suddenly) those in ministry are making calls, visiting people in the hospital, implementing ways for reaching out to those in the world who need Christ, offering more help and care, changing or softening the tone in the pulpit, spending more time with people before and after the service, making more phone calls, shaking more hands, or showing more pastoral concern.

“Suddenly” — the church is doing more!  — and maybe even considerably more. 

And yes — the “shoppers” may well notice the change!

Did I just hear the phone ring?
It’s who? — (Humm???)

has been a “REAGENT!”

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