Friday, May 22, 2009

The Church of McDonalds

Every Wednesday is Youth Night at our church. Though attendance is affected by the various sports season, we normally have 55-65 teenagers participate each week. When the night is over and the crowd begins to disperse, there are always a few “stragglers” who don’t quite want to go home yet. They enjoy being together as a group and often ask the deepest questions of the youth workers after most of the other teenagers have left. We frequently end up at McDonalds with these stragglers for a late night snack. We sit around McDonalds laughing and talking and eating far more calories and fat grams than any human being should consume that late at night!

This past week the stragglers numbered more than 15 teens plus four youth workers. I’m not quite sure what the people in McDonald’s thought when we all came pouring into the place just after 10 PM. But as I listened to the group laugh and talk, it occurred to me that perhaps that was one of the most crucial moments of our youth ministry that night. Though I was tired and would have rather gone straight home, I realized the importance of building a sense of community among teenagers.

In a society in which half of all marriages end in divorce and many children are growing up isolated from their extended families; young people often don’t have the support they need for a successful life. Giving them safe, healthy and wholesome places to be together and helping them build a sense of community among themselves is one of the greatest things the church can offer teenagers. Whether we do it in the actual church building, or in a McDonalds, the result is the same. Young people need to feel like they belong.

Though a casual observer watching our group at McDonalds may not realize what they are seeing, those who watch more closely will realize that it is a very much a “worship service” at The Church of McDonalds. In that place we were “being” the church. Though we may not have our Bibles open in a formal Bible study, our lives are open and display the truths of the Bible lived out in real life experience. Though we may not verbally sing praise songs to Jesus, our hearts are filled with praise and the laughter on our lips honors the One whom we live our lives for. Though it not look “spiritual,” what happens at McDonalds has a profound spiritual impact on those who regularly attend services at The Church of McDonalds because they know they belong to a solid group of Christians who love God and love each other. That sense of belonging is vital in the discipleship process. If you are finding your sense of “belonging” in Christ is not as strong as you may want it to be, fill your car with some Christian friends and head over to The Church of McDonalds. You might be surprised what a difference it will make!


Learn more about reaching young people in Dr. Terry Dorsett's book, Mission Possible: Reaching the Next Generation through the Small Church.

15 comments:

  1. Dr. H.B. and Mrs. GravesMay 22, 2009 at 3:52 PM

    We enjoy your blog.

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  2. Yes to the McDonald’s Church!!!!

    We’ll be doing that as we take breaks from VBS visitation. So as you are in CA you can think of D’Andra, Quanish, Mildred and Joan doing visitation on the west side of Sptg. AND stopping off at McDonald’s for fun and talk… more subtle direction from Mrs. O’Connor about right and wrong, about what Jesus expects, about how to walk with Him. These girls will enter 7th Gr. They are doing well spiritually considering the onslaught from Satan daily.

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  3. I love our mcdonalds nights.

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  4. That is a great blessing to hear what God is doing with your meetings. I agree with the fact that what the "church" does outside of the church building is just as, if not far more important than what happens in the building itself.

    We all need to sometimes stop and remember that what people see in those of us that profess to be Christians in our lives, speak much greater than the words that we speak.

    It sounds like you are living the life of Christ in McDonalds, which is a good thing.

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  5. Jane Placey BrighamMay 22, 2009 at 10:08 PM

    This is great! Thanks for sharing.... I pray daily that Justin will find his way to youth group regularly! It is such a wonderful thing of the work God is doing for these youth! I heard a testimony last Sunday from a wonderful lady and she repeatedly said "how great is my God"! I sat there with a huge smile on my face thinking... I couldn't agree more....and this is one of the many reasons why!

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  6. Jennifer Dutil BrakeMay 22, 2009 at 10:09 PM

    I like this!

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  7. The youth group at your church has changed my life. Until I started coming I was not even sure there was a God. The few times I went to church before coming to your church I thought it was boring and I could not understand it. But you always make it so clear and easy to understand. Thanks for staying up late and taking us to McDonalds. You are right, it does make a difference.

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  8. You didn't mention that you also take a group of teens out to the chinese place almost every Sunday after church. And I know that you often end up paying for those that don't have the money to go. If more pastors loved teens the way you do our SBC churches would not be filled with so many grey heads.

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  9. Ariann Gracey SchillingMay 22, 2009 at 10:36 PM

    That sounds awesome! How is everything there? Sounds like everything is great! Do you have any summer missionaries this summer?

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  10. Brian Matthew LingMay 22, 2009 at 11:06 PM

    I like this!

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  11. John and Anne ScogginsMay 23, 2009 at 8:18 AM

    We praise God for what you guys are doing in so many ways to grow the Kingdom. The Church of McDonalds is a wonderful and effective way to nurture young lives!! What a great thing you're doing!! Maybe we over here in New Hampshire should start a group at "Burgers for the King"!

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  12. thanks for sharing, this was great, it reminds me that we all need to take that time to develop those relationships.

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  13. Margaret ChampionJune 1, 2009 at 5:46 PM

    Beautiful.

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  14. Last week, after the meeting at our church for the University students, I found myself in conversation with a few after the meeting ended. I was tired, it was past my bedtime as I have become an early riser. I felt like I was mumbling and slurring my words (not as bad as oatmeal dripping down my chin at the nursing home, but close). I remembered the church of McDonalds blogpost. Was inspired, and had an engaging conversation about apologetics. By the end of the conversation, I was energized once again and they had to usher us out so they could lock the building. Thanks for your inspiration. Had you not posted this, I would have likely left a bit too early.

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  15. Looking for practical ways to put some of the principles in this blog post into action? Purchase my book, Developing Leadership Teams in the Bivocational Church. The first part of the book explains why bivocational ministry is biblical, normal and missional. The second part of the book explains how to mobilize the laity to do high level ministry in a team setting with the pastor so that the church can be effective in reaching its community for Christ.
    The book is published by Crossbooks and you can buy the book directly from them at:

    http://www.crossbooks.com/BookStore/BookStoreBookDetails.aspx?bookid=58188

    The book is also available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Nobles.com and a many other online bookstores.
    If you live in Central Vermont, you can purchase a copy at the Faith Community Church in Barre, VT.

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