Priesthood of all Believers, its all about the donut!

It is, apparently, all about the donut.

My wife and recently went to out to an anniversary dinner (about a month and half after our anniversary – yes that’s some determination to actually get to celebrate).  We thought about trying a new restaurant, solicited recommendations, did some reading online and in the end decided we wanted to make sure to have a good experience for our one big meal out in a long time so we went to an old standby.  Fast-forward to that night and of course we were seated in the section of a waiter who was dealing with a large party.  5 minutes went by without a visit or acknowledgement and Caroline and I looked at each other with that look that just said, “of course this would happen.”  Then… a random waiter came by and explained the delay.  Then we saw the manager of the restaurant start circling and talking and checking and before you know it he was at our table asking if our server had been by to see us yet.  “No excuses” he said and assured us the service would pick up.  And it did, and he stopped by regularly to ensure it did.  He gave us our appetizer for free; he chatted with us on several occasions and then learning it was our anniversary gave us dessert for free as well.  And you know what?  We’ll go back.  Because good management doesn’t mean you don’t make mistakes.  It means you limit how disastrous they are when they happen, and it means you make sure that the whole staff is working together to get the job done.  I said as much that night.

Now fast forward to today when my wife laughingly passed this article on to me that was going around at her office.  She laughed because it basically was saying exactly what I said to her that night. (http://www.leadershiparticles.net/Article/Leadership–It-s-all-About-the-Donut-/9821)  You don’t have to read the article, the nugget of it is right here for you:

 Just then one of the powdered donuts was knocked off the table and we saw that it had hit the brand new carpet and rolled under the table leaving a powder sugar trail. As we watched this unfold one of the other GMs got down on his hands and knees and crawled under the table to get the donut. There was no discussion no thought behind it, he just dropped down and got the donut.

 

Now this guy was no ordinary man. He must have weighed at least 350 and with a 55″ waist. I mean he was big. He never seemed to walk right always kind of waddled around, but in spite of that he got he donut without even the slightest hesitation, even though there were others who would have done so much easier than he did. Any one of them would have not hesitated if he had asked one of them to get it.

 

It was then that I realized what the problem was that I had with this GM candidate. I exclaimed to my boss that I knew the answer. I told him this guy would not have gotten the donut. He would certainly have asked someone else to do it. If he was alone at the table he would walk back to the kitchen and get a dishwasher to do it if necessary. He very rarely helped the employees with their customers. He simply was not willing to do the things that he asked others to do.

 

I share these two stories because it’s something at the heart of church that is a big struggle for so many churches.  How many of us come to church like a bunch of consultants hired to tell someone else what they need to do different and better.  We are good at identifying the problems, the needed changes, the short-comings.  But we don’t so much want to be part of the solution.  We’d rather point them out for other people to fix (myself included).  We’d rather go tell someone else about the donut that needs to be cleaned up under the table then simply bend over and get it done.

Priesthood of All Believers.  That concept is at the heart of the protestant tradition and one of its meanings is that we are all in this together. The church is the people, and being church isn’t done by some for the benefits of many.  It is the work, practice, and life of all people. We are all responsible parties in making the community that is the church happen for one another.  In his book Community : The Structure of Belonging, author Peter Block begins talking about the nature of belonging.

First and foremost, to belong is to be related to a part of something.  It is membership, the experience of being at home in the broadest sense of the phrase.  It is the opposite of thinking that wherever I am, I would be better off somewhere else… the second meaning of the word belong has to do with being an owner: Something belongs to me.  To belong to a community is to act as a creator and co-owner of that community.  What I consider mine I will build and nurture.  The work, then, is to seek in our communities a wider and deeper sense of emotional ownership; it means fostering among all of a community’s citizens a sense of ownership and accountability.

This is the priesthood of all believers.  We are all co-owners of the church.  It only happens in wholeness if everyone is stepping up to the plate, nurturing, and fostering our common good… and picking up the donut.

So where do you belong?  And how are you making a place for others to belong as well?

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About Andrew Kukla

I am the proud father of four wonderful children, loving husband to Caroline, brother to three mostly wonderful sisters, and son of two parents that gifted me with a foundation of love and freedom. I also am a Presbyterian pastor and former philosophy major with a love of too many words (written with many grammatical errors and parenthetic thoughts), Soren Kierkegaard, and reflections on living a life of discipleship that is open to all the challenges, ups and downs, brokenness and grace, of a chaotic and wonderful life founded upon the love of God for all of creation.

Posted on July 9, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Amen!

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