Today I had been not doing a whole lot and I woke up from a long nap. At around 9:30 p.m. I realized that I had gotten pretty hungry and went through my mind the number of places I could go and grab something to eat. I decided on going to Waffle House. Now if you have never been to Waffle House I am sorry. You are missing out on one of God’s gifts of common grace. As I was waiting on my meal and eating I tried to take a few minutes to just not look at my phone and observe everything going on around me. I often have a problem with people watching. After enjoying my meal and finishing up the last few sips of coffee I had in my cup I had a thought that I felt would resonate with many others. This thought was “the church should be more like Waffle House.” These are the reasons that I believe this thought.
- The doors are always open
Waffle House is amazing because they are always open. They are 24 hours and they will serve you whenever you walk in. They are even open on Christmas. In the same way, I believe the church should be a place that is serving others with the posture of “our doors are always open to you.” When the church operates in this way it becomes not only a place people feel welcome to come into but it also becomes like home. We as the church should be people who live out of this mindset. That our lives are also like doors that are always open. Open to people that need support, grace, love, and most importantly the Gospel.
2. There are always people from different walks of life there
One of the more interesting things about Waffle House is the different characters you may run into there. In one booth you may find a middle-class family that is enjoying a Friday evening together and in the next booth over there may be a lower-class single mother with two kids or you may have a waiter that’s working his second job to make ends meet. The point is this more often than not you won’t ever have just one type of person that you see at Waffle House. What is sad is that often this cannot be said about the church. The church should be a place for people from all walks of life. People that are just getting by and those that are doing extremely well. There should be no boundaries or restrictions on the type of people that come inside the doors of the church. It should be a community of broke people all walking towards King Jesus who can make them whole again. We should embrace all people with the same attitude that Jesus had loving our neighbors as ourselves.
3. There is almost always never once race present
This is one of my favorite points. Waffle House is amazing because the staff is usually made up of all races and the customers in the store are usually all different races. I love this because there is just something cool that happens when different cultures are all in one commonplace. Jesus wants the church to be the same way. He literally gave Paul this message and mission. The church as a whole was never meant to be designed for one group of people or ethnicity. We should desire to see the church people a place that has all of God’s people in it. Unfortunately, over the history of the church, we have not done a good job at this. Derwin Gray writes this on the state of ethnic diversity within the church “Only 13.7% of churches in America are considered multi-ethnic.” We as the church should pray that God would bring unity among all ethnicities using His church as the centerfold.
4. You are usually there with good friends
Some of my best memories from high school came from late Friday nights after football games or just random invites that would be “you wanna go to the waffle house?” When I and my friends would go there would be no time limit on how long we were there or an expectation of when we would leave. We were just there because we wanted food and enjoyed being around each other! For us, Waffle House was a place to sit around a table and enjoy the company of others and just be. This is not to say that many people are not with their friends at church but what if we made the church a place where nobody there was friendless. That when people got up on Sunday morning and were getting ready for the church they knew for a fact that they would be with good friends when they arrived. They would be at a place where they were with friends they could trust and friends that would enjoy life with them and walk towards Jesus with them. We as the church should make the church a place where others are always with their good friends.
These four things came to mind as I was eating my meal. I really believe that if we can be better at just these four things we could reach many more for the Gospel. I love the church and it has helped me find my purpose in Christ but we can always be better. Sometimes the world around us shows us in the strangest ways how to be better. Jesus wants the church to be better. Let’s be a people that continues to grow towards Him and desires to see all people be welcomed into the community that is made up of Jesus followers.