Friday, November 16, 2007

Kitchen Nightmare = Church Nightmare?

It amazes me how similar restaurants and churches are at its core: the service of food. I'm sure everyone in some form or another have heard that Jesus has called himself the bread of life. Bread is a food. The church is suppose to be a dispenser of Jesus and make people hungry and thirsty for him. David has compared his search for God in the same way.

In the day of Jesus, restaurants as we know it were not around. They would make things from nothing or buy the ingredients at a market and make meals themselves. They would not go somewhere and be waited on hand and foot like at today's restaurant. So restaurants today survive by making people hungry for the food they serve.

Kitchen Nightmares is a Wednesday night show on Fox that turns around restaurants that for some reason or another have no longer been able to make people hungry for their product and they are close to shutting down. Star British chief, Gordon Ramsey, comes in to try and help these hapless dinning establishments around. It makes for some good entertainment. Here are some of the common problems in no particular order (see if they sound familiar):
  1. Poor Leadership - The leader(s) is either weak, indecisive, delusional with ideas of making it big, reluctant to remove failing parts, or all of these above. All of the employees are running around like chickens with their head cut off. They no idea what to do or are doing what ever they want.
  2. Lack of focus - They have too many choices in the menu or they are just plain confusing. They opened a restaurant but have no idea what makes them different from other places.
  3. Conflict - Everyone is out for themselves and are constantly looking out for number 1, not the restaurant.
  4. Poor Decor - The place is dirty or too old that it makes the 1950's look new. Bugs everywhere. Nasty smells. Corners cut. Lack of attention to detail and what new people see as they enter.
  5. Poor Product - This is the big one because the food is the major product of a restaurant. The food is usually frozen or prepackaged. The cooks have lost all passion and cut corners. They serve substandard food and think nothing is wrong. The people that work there are use to it but their expectations have been lowered over time.
Gordon comes in and diagnoses the problems and starts to work with the management to correct their bad habits. The first thing he has to do is convince the people that there is problem and change has to take place. It amazes me how many times the management refuses to listen to Gordon. They fight him. He changes the menu and they complain. He gets them to see there's a problem and Gordon then brings in his design team to fix things up. The staff then always gets excited and sees that a change can happen. The dinner service is hard but people see hope and things start to turn around.

Many churches suffer from the same problems listed above. The minister/preacher (the cook) have lost passion and are giving prepackaged "meals" to their congregations. The "restaurant" is not inviting and old looking. The "team members" are only out for themselves.

At C4, we are going in the right direction but our facilities are limiting the excitement of everyone, both new and old. This weekend is a big weekend for our church as this is pledge weekend for our Unleashed Campaign to improve ministry effectiveness. I'm excited by the steps we the leaders have taken already and I can't wait to see how the rest of our team responses on Sunday. I can feel God is about to do a big thing here at C4 and it rests a lot on this weekend.

FYI - Episodes of the show are free on to watch. Feel free to watch and see for yourself. Caution: Language can be a little strong since the guy is British.

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