A Possible Job Description?

Claire and I are in the process once again of deciding/discerning where and what the Lord is calling us to after July 31, 2013 (the date Claire’s internship in Evanston, WY ends). Once again I find myself excited about the possibilities, but more so, I am scared and already tired about the thought of moving again (of course we might stay in Park City).

As we have begun to talk about life over the past week, one thing I have mentioned is that I have missed being involved in ministry. Since beginning my journey into the world of culinary arts, my dream has always been to combine a love for all aspects of food with a deep passion for seeing people grow spiritually, connecting with God in all aspects of their lives. Most of the time, I have told people that this might look like helping run a small retreat center for people to come and intentionally slow down from the hustle and bustle of the American culture. But another thought came to mind the other night.

Pastor of Food Ministry.

Some of you might stop reading at that last sentence because you think this is a gimmick or that I am trying to capitalize on the unhealthy obsession many Americans have with food. But please hear me out.

This idea is not to fan the flame of an unhealthy preoccupation with food, but rather to foster community and healthy families through a holistic theology of eating and food.

Most churches already do a lot with food, including banquets to men’s and women’s breakfasts, holiday parties, food pantries, and most importantly celebrating the Lord’s Table. So why not have a person on staff to oversee and facilitate all of this, but in a much larger capacity?

So here are some of my preliminary thoughts on what such a job might look like:

  • Plan the celebration of the Eucharist, with one of Sunday of every other month centered solely around the Lord’s Table and giving thanks, followed by a love feast (you can read more of my thoughts on the Eucharist here).
  • Oversee functions of the church where food is served, which includes recruiting volunteers to help make and serve meals.
  • Communicate to the church that food is not just an enticement to get them to come, but rather central to the formation of deep community.
  • Oversee meals for families in need – from births to sicknesses to deaths.
  • Oversee a food pantry to help those in need have healthy options for food, which may include also providing guidance in cooking and recipes.
  • Helping families in the congregation and community eat together more in the family, once again providing cooking demonstrations or tips on how to do so with ease considering that in most families a stay-at-home mom/parent is a rarity.
  • Facilitate classes and other learning opportunities dealing with issues with food, including support groups for people dealing with eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia or obesity. This will also include knowing of community resources like psychologists and treatment programs for such disorders.
  • Encouraging members of the congregation to become more involved in the arena of eating, which might include trips to farms and ranches that treat God’s creation with respect.

There is probably more that can be flushed out and developed within this job description, nor do I know if any churches would actually get behind such an idea. But I like the idea of working within the church instead of through a retreat center mainly because of the relationships that can be developed and the community fostered through ministering with the same people over the long haul. Good community and good food both take time and care to develop.

I would love to hear any of your thoughts on this idea and if you think if it is possible.

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12 thoughts on “A Possible Job Description?

  1. I would love to see a job like that open up in my church. I often feel like my church is socially awkward. It’s on the bigger side and there’s a hint of community, but something like this could really bring people together around the table and build community. Great thoughts.

  2. doesn’t seem to be too crazy. churches have “hospitality pastors” ….and things like that already, Larger churches have pastors on staff to handle most of what you listed already. It might be harder to convince someone of the philosophy than the actual job.
    actually, as i read most of this i was also thinking a university might make use of a position like this.
    jared

  3. I think this is a phenomenal idea especially with the focus on healthful eating. Have you read about the journey Saddleback church went on recently encouraging its members to change their eating habits. They setup a whole program spear-headed by Rick Warren. He collaborated with several well known doctors to educate his congregation. May be something to look into–possibly something that you could bring to another church.

    • Ruth…I saw and read a little about what Saddleback was doing, but to be honest was a little skeptical about it. I should probably look more into it before passing judgment, but the information I saw on the web was not very substantial. Do you know how I could get more information? Thanks.

  4. I too think it is a great idea. I think it might fly best at a church that is both creative/innovative and well-versed in spiritual formation. I would recommend talking to John Coe about the idea and see if it might fit with what he is attempting to do at Redeemer Church in La Mirada…

  5. Pingback: Monday Links – The Journey Church – An Emerging Church – Westminster, CO

  6. I think this is a fantastic job description! i tried to barter a few years ago the free use of the church’s kitchen to a chef/cater in exchange for meals and hospitality but your idea is even better. if you’re thinking of relocating to the twin cities…

    • Thanks Travis…I don’t know if my wife and I are ready to relocate to the Twin Cities, but what church do you attend?

  7. What wonderful ideas! I have been in Hawaii visiting my mother and the sermon at her church this Sunday included a whole section on nutrition as a part of treating our body as a temple of the Spirit. The church, First Presbyterian Church of Honolulu, with pastor Dan Chun, is a mega church with a catoring company on the church campus that serves lunch to the vast majority of congregants every Sunday. Gathering for food together after service is a huge part of their ministry and my mom never misses it. I love coming home to Hawaii and knowing I will always see old friends and have great conversations after the service. They have a wonderful model for integrating food and spirituality – an are committing in 2013 to more Vegitarian and Vegan options.
    I have also been reading The Vegan Table, and besides wonderfully delicious recipes, I’m moved by some of the ethics if eating an the relational and spiritual impact of our food and health choices.
    I wish you the best in this exciting time of transition and pray for wisdom and discernment as you follow God’s leading.
    Blessings!
    Lisa

  8. Thank you all for your encouragement. It has been unreal to read other people’s excitement about this idea (people I do not even know). I don’t know how/where/when the Lord is leading Claire and me, but I take some solace in knowing that other people across the nation see the same need that I do for Christians to think deeply and holistically about food and its place within Christian formation.

  9. I loved your ideas Andrew, I believe it could be such a wonderful way to honor the Lord and would be so fun and celebratory as well. Someone already mentioned Saddleback, as they are doing some interesting things there. I’m assuming these ideas would do best at a large church, like Mariners or Willow Creek – have you thought about sending your ideas to a large congregation to get some response? Praying God will give you discernment!

    • Thank you for your encouragement, Roe. As I thought and wrote about this, I realized that possibly only a large church would have the resources to do such a thing, and I just don’t know how I feel about working at such a large church. Lots to think and pray about.

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