Church Impossible

I’m not big on reality TV, but I’ve been watching Restaurant Impossible lately on the Food Network (and occasionally Kitchen Nightmares on BCC and Fox). For those unfamiliar with these programs, here’s a short description.

Each Restaurant Impossible episode features a failing restaurant on the verge of going out of business. Celebrity chef Robert Irvine comes to the restaurant, samples the food, observes how it operates, interviews the customers, inspects the kitchen, food storage, management, workers, etc. Then he gives his brutally honest assessment of the problems to the owners and workers. From there it’s a matter of quickly correcting the problems, with the owners and employee’s cooperation, so the restaurant has a new start.

As I watch various episodes, I see many common problems: poor quality food, preparation, and recipes, dirty kitchens, outdated decor, and perhaps most common, lack of humility in the owners, cooks, and other workers that prevent them from seeing the obvious.

Those restaurants that accept chef Robert’s assessment and embrace his recommendations and new menu are more likely to experience a successful turn-around. But some fall back into their old ways when Robert leaves, and end up closing soon after.

The concept of the TV series could be applied to many other kinds of failing businesses. However, I wonder what it would be like to apply it to the church, i.e. Church Impossible. A mature believer comes from outside to a failing congregation, observes how it functions, confronts them with the problems and gives them good biblical solutions, teaching them how to get back to the basics, etc.

(Actually, there is a ministry that does something similar, minus the reality TV cameras. It’s called Metanoia Ministries. If your church is struggling with internal conflict, contact them. They can help.)

Many of the problems in churches today are very similar to those of the struggling restaurants. Perhaps you are part of a congregation that is stagnant or failing apart, and you want to know how to turn it around. While I don’t have all the answers, in the next series of posts I hope to uncover the causes of some common problems and give their biblical solutions.

(By the way, out of curiosity, I googled ‘church impossible’ and found other bloggers and pastors who had the same idea. I didn’t look at anything they wrote because I want to keep to keep my posts as original as possible. It will be interesting afterward to compare to see how we all differed in what we found.)

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