If you are in ministry you know that one of the main purposes of the church is to serve the people that collectively make up the church. We do our best to meet their needs, to help them deeper experience the love of God, and to teach and encourage them as well. But there is a difference between serving out people and catering to them.
I spent a lot of time serving in many restaurants as well as working for a few catering companies so indulge me if you will for all analogies and metaphors break down at some point.
As a minister you have a vision God has given you for how your ministry will serve and function; for where it’s heading and how you will get there. Some will move fast. Some will move slow. For other God is calling you to honestly just be where you are. But in any case God has given you the vision and direction. You serve your people based on that direction. Without being too cheesy God plans the menu from which you serve your people. And like any good restaurant there is a little creative freedom within that menu to best serve your customer. But if you are an In-N-Out Burger and someone orders a chicken fried steak you probably can’t accommodate them.
But when you cater, you are allowing someone else control over what is served, how things will function and the like. Yes you still have some control but you are turning over a good portion of that control to meet the clients needs. If a client desired deep fried Oreos the caterer shouldn’t just show up with carrots and celery and suggest this is better for them. The client get’s what the client wants regardless of how good or bad it is for them, they are in control for the most part.
When we serve our people we do everything we can to meet their needs within the framework of the vision God has given us. When we cater to our people we are allowing the tail to wag the dog so to speak. When we cater we will be spending too much time trying to make everyone happy at the expense of the vision God gave us.
At the expense of sounding bad, our job isn’t defined by making people happy or satisfying a certain person or groups desires for how they see church but to help people experience God’s saving grace and love. (Ministry secret – following God’s vision doesn’t always make everyone happy)
Now apparently I need to go to lunch cause I am writing a lot about food.