I’m a church girl. I always have been. My mother has taught Sunday School for as long as I can remember, and we had no choice but to attend church with her. Even when we were teenagers and church became optional, I still chose to make my way to the church house on Sunday mornings. It’s what I did. It’s what I still do as an adult. I had no idea what people did on Sunday mornings if they didn’t go to church.
But in recent years I discovered the marvel that is Sunday brunch. As a church girl, it pains me to say this, but Sunday brunch might actually be better than church. Here are the top five reasons people might choose pancakes over praise and worship.
I have minimum expectations for brunch. I expect an omelet offering, mimosas and alternatives, and fresh fruit options. I wonder if there will be pancakes, waffles, or French toast, and I secretly hope for all three.
But what do we expect when we go to church? A few songs, a prayer, and a three point sermon. We stopped expecting to have an encounter with the Almighty, which ought to be the main feature at any of our worship services.
4) The fellowship was authentic. Nobody had to tell us to turn to our neighbors. We weren’t instructed to pass the peace of God. We naturally talked to the people around us, as we waited for our numbers to be called, or while we stood in line for prime rib and shrimp cocktail. Relationships, no matter how fleeting, were forged around our common ground, which in this case, was our fondness for food.
3) I was not judged. I know for sure I committed at least one of the seven deadly sins at brunch (gluttony), nobody told me I ought to be ashamed of myself. Nobody felt the need to point out my full plates or my empty champagne flutes. They were all too busy managing their own plates and glasses. Oh, how I wish the church would be as forgiving as my brunch buddies.
2) I entered hungry and I left full and satisfied. The Bible clearly instructs us to minister to the physical AND spiritual needs of our people. Too many of our churches specialize in either one or the other. We have to do a better job of providing both. Imagine if all of our parishioners left Sunday services feeling the way I did after brunch.
1) They only asked me for my money once, and I knew exactly what I was paying for. As a former church administrator, I understand the need for designated contributions. I know the church has bills to pay. But so many of our churches do a poor job of handling funds. Others are great at managing the money, but not so great at keeping the parishioners abreast of how the funds are allocated.
Have you ever paid for years into a building fund, but have yet to see major capital improvements? Ever donate to the missions offering at a church with no missionaries? I have. It is not a good feeling.
This is not meant to be an indictment on the church. I do not think the church should be akin to an all you can eat buffet. I love the church. I think the local church is the hope of the world, as Rick Warren said. But if we are to effectively minister to the people of this age, there are some things we could definitely learn from brunch culture to make our churches better places.
Just food for thought.