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The Church Impossible





Dilapidated Church in India

Church Impossible? Is a Makeover Feasible?






Okay, Chef Robert Irvine inspired the title of this blog post. Why? Because my wife and I love to watch the show Restaurant Impossible. If you’re not familiar with Restaurant Impossible, it is a show about restaurant makeovers. Chef Irvine comes in and fixes dying restaurants that are losing money and customers. He takes $10,000 and tries to fix it in two days.



We enjoy watching the show because we often find ourselves cooking together and we get interesting cooking tips from it. I also enjoy watching it because of the years I worked in retail and the business experience brought to the show portrays a savvy that is often unknown to many of these small business owners. Chef Irvine comes in and sees people running restaurants with little to no business background yet they believe because they spent enough money on the location or “customer base” they will automatically succeed. Quite a few of those he has helped didn’t even know how to cook much less track their inventory or understand a basic ROI. (Return on Investment)



So, what does this have to do with the church and geek life? Well, most geeks I know like to eat so I think I have that area covered handedly. In fact, I would add foody as a new category of geek. As for the church, I began to ask myself what would it look like if we had someone come in and give it a makeover. What would churches look like? How would we react? Would we end up in tears like many of the people on Restaurant Impossible? Would we take the money, get our quick fix, and in a few months go back to doing things the same way we have done them before?



With that in mind, I asked friends from Facebook and Twitter who fall somewhere in the range from atheist to nominal church attendee about how they’d like to see the church changed. I have tried asking regular church attendees but most people don’t really like answering that question because it would mean making changes and people do not like change.



I’m not going to judge the spiritual life of those who were kind enough to answer my questions because these are people who I believe the church is missing out on. We need them to help us create The Church Impossible. I think I’ve had some good comments about what this type of restaurant…..errr….church should like. The first comment goes well with this theme:

Miller said: “To me a church would go back to the original model, a big picnic, where we get together to discuss life, our beliefs, our challenges, and how to over come them. One that encourages us to truly treat each other like the brothers and sisters we are. A church where everyone follows the “rules,” and no one is “higher in the eyes of God” then anyone else, because no one is. We are all equal. No one is better because of some position they hold in a church.



There is the restaurant model right there! I think there is a reason that Jesus ate with people on a regular basis. A shared meal is a time when people of all different types can sit down and discuss things. Jesus ate with the hypocrite and the sinner. You can’t beat a table like that because the conversations were often pretty good. The only problem I believe Jesus faced was that he could not get the sinners and the hypocrites to eat with each other. I have to be honest; in The Church Impossible this is the type of thing that will cause it to be a great success.



I don’t know about you but I have found it becomes increasingly difficult to be cruel to someone when you have a nice, full belly. The proportion to which you’ve been fed is directly related to how angry you’re going to get. It really becomes even more difficult when you eat with someone on a regular basis . (Hmmm, so, ministering to the needy may actually require us to feed them regularly and maybe sit down and talk with them. Crazy thought!) Instead of believing that familiarity breeds contempt I believe it brings people into relationships and that’s what will build The Church Impossible: relationships.



The Church Impossible, according to Miller, should also be a place where we live out the equality that the Scripture points out so well. Forget the myth that the Bible doesn’t believe in equality. Read Galatians 3:28 and come back and talk to me. So, The Church Impossible is a place where we sit down, discuss our lives, our spirituality, our struggles, and hurts in a nonjudgmental way. Damn, that’s crazy talk ain’t it? We can’t do that, can we?

More to come in my next post. I’m hoping you will feel free to leave comments and interact with me by helping to answer the question, “What does The Church Impossible look like to you?”

This entry was posted in Bible, Christianity, church, community, Facebook, Jesus, Marketing, Ministry, preacher, religion, Social Media, spirituality, Theology, transgenerational, Twitter, United Methodist, Virtue. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Church Impossible

  1. Barbara Blackburn says:

    Great job, Derek. 🙂 I love the quote and idea behind a big picnic!

    I think it shouldn’t necessarily be confined within walls – and I think we should let people express how they feel connected to God. Some people’s hearts are touched by music, some, by viewing nature or by helping the less fortunate.

    Mostly, I think that “church people” have to wake up a little bit and take time to re-examine their hearts on a regular basis to see if THEY are really connected to God or whether they’ve used “churchiness” to insulate them from what God really wants for them. Then, they’d be more authentic when relating to other people. And, I like the communal meal idea – humility and openness – those are key ingredients.

  2. Scottie Freeman says:

    A Church that does not get together in a social setting will lose it sense of community. we are planning some things for our church.

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