Wednesday, December 29, 2010
The Chicken Man
When I was a new graduate of one of the schools that instructs people about doing ministry, I went to work like I had been taught. Over and over we heard people telling us that we were going out into the world to be resident theologians in communities. We heard people who were supposed to know telling us we were going out to be the professional religious person in the community in the same manner that a doctor is the professional medical person or the teacher, the professional education person. I bought the package being taught and went out to my first churches with this attitude that resulted in detachment more than anything else.
I should have gone to see the Chicken Man. Actually, I did not know him back then, but I am sure he must have existed somewhere. Where I have seen him most recently is at the local Chick-fil-A. He is the first shift manager. Since it is one of our most frequented fast food joints, I have had the opportunity to watch him a lot. While I am sure he spends time behind the counter, in the kitchen, or in the office, I mostly see him out in the store taking care of people and the stuff that needs attention. During the noon rush hour, he can be seen bagging trash and taking it to the dumpster. He cleans tables, always friendly and always asking if there anything he can do. I have even caught him cleaning the bathroom. All those young college students working there may be learning how to serve food, but they also have an opportunity to see a great example of servant leadership.
A lot of clergy and lay leaders at churches should go and watch. Good leaders serve. Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, modeled servant leadership. Constantly, He put aside personal needs to care for the needs of those around Him. His servant's heart finally took Him, not the head of the table, but to the cross.