BE the church
Updated: Feb 11, 2020
What do you think of when you hear the word church? What does the world think of when they hear the word church? I can tell you what waitresses think...
I used to waitress while I attended Bible college and the number one complaint I heard from other waitresses was...about the "after church" crowds. My fellow waitresses used to dread Christians coming in on Sundays. And I started to also. In fact, whenever I would see a table bow their heads to pray before their meal I would instantly get bummed because not only were Christians some of the rudest and highest maintenance customers we served but they were also many times some of the stingiest tippers as well.
How do you expect to lead your waitress to Christ with a Four Spiritual Laws tract when you don't even take the time to learn her name and you leave your tract with a stingy tip?
Now I know that nobody who is taking the time to read this blog is actually guilty of the above but I wanted to start a conversation about re-thinking "church" by talking about the above scenario.
What IS church?
When you hear the word "church" do you think of a building or a service? Many people do! For example, one might say "We're going to be late for church!" by which they are referring to church being at a certain time. Another might say "I'll meet you at the church!" by which they are referring to church being at a certain place.
The problem with these concepts is that they reduce what Jesus intended His Church to BE!
When we reduce church to only a few hours, one day a week or we reduce it to a physical location - we FORGET that WE THE PEOPLE ARE the Church and we cannot be reduced to a place or a time. If WE are the Church then church becomes defined as EVERYwhere we are and ALL the time. INCLUDING in the restaurants we rush to after the Sunday morning service.
What IS love?
One of the most practical teachings I ever heard on love came from one of my heroes, Heidi Baker. She is a world changer in Mozambique, Africa, and this is what she had to say about love. She teaches, love the one in front of you. Love looks like something. To a hungry person, love looks like food. To an orphan, love looks like a family. To an illiterate person, love looks like an education. Love well the one God puts in front of you.
What does love look like to a waitress? I'll tell you from experience. Love looks like a generous tip. And us waitresses consider generous MORE than the 20% you consider generous. You see, when I was waitressing, there would be those few customers who would come in and were consistent in their displays of generosity. There was the older couple who would come in and split a burger and ALWAYS leave a $20 tip. Us waitresses FOUGHT over who would get to serve them when they came in. On the other hand, the "after-church" crowd, waitresses always fought over who could go on break and miss that crowd.
I want to be the type of customer that waitresses fight over in wanting to serve because I am known for my generosity, kindness, and patience. Going from serving to being served, I believe the tip is more a reflection of me than it is of my server. I know, I know, the acronym T.I.P.S. stands for "to insure prompt service" but when you think about it...being generous in the face of maybe poor or slow service...wouldn't that communicate the message of grace to someone better than a tract you leave on the table?
This first blog in a series on "re-thinking church" is not meant to be a put-down. Neither am I waitressing any more so it is not meant to encourage anyone to tip me better. It is merely meant to start the conversation on "re-thinking" who we are AS the church and how we carry that concept with us, EVERYwhere we go. Doesn't it make you sad that the majority of workers in the food & beverage industry have a negative opinion of "church-goers?"