Recently, I had lunch at Five Guys burgers. If you’ve never eaten there, you should. I first discovered them in California and have enjoyed them every time I’ve gone. The menu is simple, the fries come in a giant bag, and the quality is exceptional. You order a basic hamburger and then decide what toppings you want on it (no extra charge). Depending on your mood you can have as much or as little as you want. It’s a pretty seamless operation.
But this last one had something else that puts it into an even bigger category of awesomeness: A darn good manager that cared about quality, service, and loyalty.
When we got our food, he was out making rounds talking with people and making sure everyone was happy, and it was more than in the normal, obligatory managerial way. He genuinely cared. He knew people by name. He remembered prior conversations and engaged with people in a meaningful way.
And when he came to our table, he asked one simple, yet powerful question: “How is everything?”
Five-Guys-Burgers-Henderson (Photo credit: jkbrooks85)
And I think he really cared about our answer for more than just his own profit. My parents had been to this particular one before and said that last time they were there, he came out with free french fries for everyone and my parents left with a half gallon of free fries. Sure, it helps to be there late at night, but he offered again this time (in the middle of the day). He was more determined to make sure everyone was happy and cared for more than anything. He knew that listening to other’s voices and suggestions made him better, his company better, and ultimately the whole experience better. He was open to critique and suggestion if it might advance the company.
Why? Because these happy customers (myself included) were buying into the underlying vision and mission of Five Guys Burgers. We were becoming loyal to that vision and wanting to make sure it exceeded. We came to believe that somehow, our success is directly tied to their success.
I think church leaders can learn a lot from that sort of community building.
For too long, the church has focused on programmatic ideas to build relationships. Come. Consume. Fit the system.
But in the Missional frontier, leadership and ministry functionality is going to have to change.
Leaders need to ask questions like:
- How can we help?
- What else do you need?
- How can we help you succeed?
This is important for four key reasons:
- It keeps leaders aware. If something isn’t working, they can quickly change and adapt.
- It creates a two way relationship. No longer are leaders expected to be the driving force for everything. It creates a level of ownership and expectation for all people.
- It empowers people. Similar to point two above, health check questions like these creates an atmosphere for people to use their own giftedness and calling in specific and uniquely them situations.
- It gives everyone a voice. This manager knew people and he cared about them. He wanted their feedback, he wanted to know them as more than just customers. When church leaders ask similar questions, we show that everyone matters, no matter of age, experience, calling, or influence.
Leadership exists not to dominate over others, but to empower and equip them for the task. In the church, leadership like this is even more important. The point is not to convince people to come and consume, but to be empowered so that they can give back to others. By opening up the conversation to include a variety of voices and a plethora of giftings, we create a space where people are given permission to uniquely bless those around them. Leaders opening up and being open to critique or other suggestions create a space for catalyst and change.
What about you, have you experienced anything like this? How have you seen good leadership change and shape culture by including multiple and different voices? How do you see leadership shaping the future of the church?
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I am a Business and Life Coach in both non-profit and for profit settings. I coach leaders, executives, and pastors in areas of vision, clarity, and values. In relationship coaching I focus on healthy and sustainable relationships, and in leadership development roles I catalyze change for individuals and groups to thrive. I also consult churches and organizations on how to train new leaders and create a healthy culture.
In addition to that, I am an Anabaptist pastor in the Denver metro area. I specialize on topics that include: missional theology, discipleship, culture and the church in today’s society.
I am married to my wonderful wife Elise and we have three kids. I grew up and now work in the United States Mennonite Brethren Church (USMB) and love the people and history of the Mennonite Brethren faith.
I am a graduate of Tabor College with a dual degree in Youth Ministry and Christian Leadership, a graduate of Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary with a Masters of Divinity, and a Doctoral Student and Bethel Seminary.
I also teach college classes in areas of Bible, Communication, and Business.