Culture

I No Longer Need an Amen

I No Longer Need an Amen

I preached my first Sunday message to adults when I was 16 years old. My sermon was about learning to hear God’s voice using the story of Mary Magdalene and Jesus after his resurrection as my main text.

If you can believe it, I paired my message with a short monologue (talk about awkward) because it was the mid 2000s, and the human video/drama age was still alive and thriving in small and big churches alike.

I’ll forever honor the great man – my pastor for 20+ years – who instilled courage in me, saw God’s calling on my life to teach and preach, and gave me an opportunity to do so at such a young age.

Many communication lessons came with that first night in front of an attentive church – yes, with one of them being don’t do a monologue in the middle of your message. What I remember surprised me the most though is how vocal listeners were to express themselves.

From a teenager’s perspective, a common theme appeared. The church seemed more vocal at certain points in the message. Well thought out points and thoughts were received with claps, outspoken “mmhmm’s” and clear “Amen’s.” So in conjunction, one newly experienced speaker could also assume not doing such a good job would result in quietness… right?

So then and there, the measurement scale was drawn:

Loud, vocal church = good, effective preaching

Quiet church = better luck next time preaching

Watching my favorite pastors online, this measurement scale still seems to be effective.

Even today, my top speaker to listen and learn from is Steven Furtick, and from the observation of his congregation, he does an incredible job! The atmosphere is electrifying. People are hungry to hear God’s Word. They hang on his every thought and explanation. No one seems bored. The feedback is great. Church is lively and vibrant.

So if that’s the standard, my only conclusion has always been “Preach like that.”

It's My Pleasure: 6 Lessons For the Church from Chick-fil-A

It's My Pleasure: 6 Lessons For the Church from Chick-fil-A

Upon graduating college, Chick-fil-A was not the place I envisioned myself landing. Endless amounts of chicken and the growing infatuation for chicken (plus two pickles) sandwiches seemed less than the bright future anticipated. Thankfully, it was the exact job God planted me in to grow my love for people, not poultry.

While my time with CFA recently ended, what I gained from the company never will. Forgetting the times I spilt three gallons of sweet tea on the floor and had to remake 150 homemade biscuits, I’ll pass along the valuable lessons learned during the past 13 months.

1. It’s my pleasure! Or is it?

Chick-fil-A is known for having the most caring team members around, workers who take pride and pleasure in what they do. While working at my most recent restaurant, many guests posed the question, “Why is everyone here so nice?!”

Here’s the secret; the hiring process for Chick-fil-A is brutal and hard to get through. Operators only hire the cream of the crop in group interviews and stacks of applications. If it’s not going to be their pleasure serving others, then Chick-fil-A is not the company for them. In the words of a former operator, “the paycheck is not the reason they should be applying at this company.”

When considering if a ministry/a church volunteer position is for your or someone else, take a close look at the reason why. If serving others isn’t the top reason, it’s not a good fit for the church.

2. Stop stocking Polynesian.

The first faces of a Chick-fil-A restaurant are the front counter crew. If someone on the frontline isn’t taking an order, their first trained reaction is to clean and their second is to stock.

Know what America’s favorite dipping sauce is? Most guess Chick-fil-A sauce, but it’s surprisingly Polynesian sauce. With a high demand for the beloved, tangy sweet-and-sour sauce, many on the frontline find themselves keeping occupied and being on task by stocking Polynesian when the lines get low.

Unfortunately, if all eyes stay too long on the task, the guests are ignored.

Where are our eyes in the presence of guests? Is it on the church budget, the worship team set up, the attendance … or on the needs of those we have a moment with? There’s a difference in completing a task and actually doing our job.