Lessons from Wawa


Contributed by Toby Ward, Elder Overseer of Outreach at Image Church

Recently my family and I were getting ready for church when the power went out. There’s never really a good time for that to happen, but a Sunday morning is about the worst. Trying to get 3 kids under 6 ready to go somewhere is not an easy task on its own, much less with no power. We got ready a little later than normal, and I needed to stop for some coffee. On our way we saw a car in the ditch with a  downed power pole next to it. Power was out for at least 2 miles down the road. We pulled into the local Wawa, and of course it was closed due to no power. Those things always happen when you’re late don’t they? We thought, no big deal, there is another one just down the road.

Upon pulling into the parking lot it was ridiculously busy. Not a single place to park. Once I went inside, THAT’S when the chaos REALLY started. There was more people in one building than any fire marshall would ever allow. People were fighting over the pastries, the cooks could not make sandwiches fast enough, the coffee was empty, and all 4 registers had a line 10 people deep. Wawa typically operates in a very efficient manner, and on that day they had lost control. It was absolutely nuts. At the coffee station, I overheard one co-worker encouraging another that it would all be OK. The other Wawa was closed, so they had to pick-up the pace. The manager was walking around offering to help everyone, and most willing to wait got free coffee for the inconvenience. You would have thought a natural disaster had just struck route 610 in Stafford.

That one Wawa being closed for only a few hours ABSOLUTELY ripped a HOLE in the Stafford community. People were losing their minds. Keep in mind that within a 3 mile radius there was another Wawa (with power), three 7-11’s, three Valero’s, an Exxon, a BP, and countless other eateries and coffee chops. Why was everyone crammed into this one place? Because Wawa had something everyone wanted: Simplicity. Wawa makes it easy for people to get gas, get some food, get coffee, and get out quickly. They are also typically very nice and helpful, which always keeps you coming back.

Wawa’s website says the following:

Our Core Purpose…

To Simplify Our Customers’ Daily Lives

Our Core Values…

  • Value People
  • Delight Customers
  • Embrace Change
  • Do the Right Thing
  • Do Things Right
  • Passion for Winning

I can personally say that on this day, they did all these things. Wawa obviously prepared its employees well for days like that. Wawa has integrated itself into the Stafford community, and we are better off for it.

On the way to church, I was telling my wife about the scene in Wawa, and it hit me: THAT’s what church is supposed to be like!! The church is the bride of Christ, and the product we have is the Gospel!!!!! How do we get people to see the Gospel as something they need like coffee or a doughnut with sprinkles? How can we make the Gospel as essential as gas for your car? How do we train/equip our people to feed on God’s Word like they feed their car with 87 grade with 10% ethanol? 🙂

We get back to the basics. We understand why we exist as a church. Recently, as elders at Image Church, we simplified our mission statement. Check this out:

Purpose (Why) to magnify Jesus
Vision (Where)to be a community of people reflecting the image of Jesus
Mission (What)to lead people to love God (Worship), love others (Community), and make followers of Jesus (Service).

Worshipa follower of Jesus worships God with all of their life

Communitya follower of Jesus lives in community just as God lives in community

Servicea follower of Jesus is sent to serve people in order to see them transformed by the Gospel

It’s that simple, and at Image Church we strive to integrate ourself into the very fabric of our community that God has placed us. I LOVE Dumfries, and I hope you do too. Check out the mission statement above, and prayerfully consider how you could get on board. Worship, Community, and Service are the three steps to reaching God’s plan for our lives, our church, and the people of Dumfries.



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