What I Learned About Ministry From A Chinese Takeout
[This is the first post of a new series of articles we'll be doing called: "What I Learned About Ministry From..."]
Earlier this year I had an interesting lunch experience. I went to a Chinese takeout place here in Kansas City with a couple of my co-workers. They wanted to try the restaurant and I decided to tag along, even though I had brought my lunch from home...I enjoy checking out new places to eat!
When we arrived, the restaurant didn’t even look open. The door was actually locked and we had to ring a doorbell and wait for the workers to unlock the door and let us in. Very weird first impression, I must say. There were two workers: a mom and her grown up son. It was obvious they didn’t get along as they were bickering with each other the whole time we were there.
The mom (a Chinese lady probably in her late 50’s) smiled and asked if I was Chinese. I informed her that I was Korean. Her attitude towards me changed immediately, as she made some comments about Korean food.
After my co-workers ordered their food, she asked what I was going to have. I told her I was just tagging along to check out the restaurant, and that I have food from home back at the office. She proceeded to raise her voice at me and almost yell: “Okay, go eat your kimchi!” Long story short, it was very offensive and I never went back there again.
I think in many ways a lot of churches treat visitors and/or the unchurched this way.
Here’s What I Learned About Ministry from this experience:
Don’t assume things about your visitors based on their outer appearance.
Don’t dismiss someone as a potential believer or church member just because they don’t seem interested initially.
Do everything you can to make your visitors feel welcome.
Get to know your visitors and make it easy for them to get to know you.
Don’t focus on what you don’t agree on.
Even if you don’t agree with their lifestyle, welcome them with open arms just like Jesus would.
Yes, the gospel of Jesus Christ will offend some...that’s okay. But, may we not intentionally or unintentionally offend the unbelievers and/or visitors with things that are not even biblical. If you are the preacher/teacher, be very careful what you say. Think about how people from other cultures/backgrounds will hear what you say. If we are not careful, we can offend someone out of our churches because of a personal opinion that we preached from the stage that is not based on biblical truth.
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