What I learned from Hell's Kitchen.

Michele and I enjoy watching Hell’s Kitchen (link) on Monday nights. I think it is one of the funniest shows on TV…even if it wasn’t intended to be. So what can you learn about “church” from a Master Chef who is also a “Jedi master” in profanity? I think plenty… here’s just one of the things I’ve noticed recently.

There’s nothing more important than your good name!

Nothing makes Gordon Ramsey more angry (and that’s saying something!) than when he believes something is being served from his restaurant that will damage his “name”. “Your menu, my standards!” is what he yelled at an aspiring chef last week. I think church leaders, especially pastors, could learn a lot from that. When we allow substandard things to be “served” out of our churches to our communities because “they’re just volunteers” or “it’s close enough for church work” or we can’t afford to do it “right”, I believe it dishonors both the name of Jesus and the wonderful men and women who chose to serve him. We should remember that when something is done poorly, stingily, half-way, ineptly, or sloppily it doesn’t only reflect on the church or pastors “name”, it reflects on Jesus!

I believe it also dishonors volunteers efforts when we allow low standards and lack of resources to cause them to put out a final result they can not be proud of. They are not “just volunteers” or “free labor”, they are the heart and soul of our efforts to serve our communities! I actually believe the best use of church paid staff is to empower, train, and provide resources for volunteers. Instead of “patronizing” volunteers with low standards that reflect badly on the “name” of Jesus and the Church, we should honor them by guiding them into doing truly extraordinary things! (If you wonder why I’m so passionate about volunteers, I have spent much of my life in “unpaid” ministry positions…and to this point everyone, including myself, is a volunteer at actionchurch.)

I certainly don’t plan to scream insults and curses at staff and volunteers like Chef Ramsey does to “keep standards high”! I’m pretty sure the “love your neighbor thing” pretty much rules out that kind of behavior. However, I’ve been reading Nehemiah , and he made “the Chef” look kind of tame when it came to protecting the “name” of his “organization”… Nehemiah 13:25 “I rebuked them and called curses down on them. I beat some of the men and pulled out their hair. .. (link) Yeow! I think I’d rather work at Hell’s Kitchen…

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