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Michelin Star Dining

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We had the beautiful opportunity to eat at one of the Michelin Star Restaurants in our community.  The table we were seated at was outside amongst the garden that the chef pulled all his ingredients and fresh vegetables from to prepare meals.  From the pre-dining greeting, tour through the vegetable garden where we learned what was in season, to then sit down with freshly poured water and warm blankets provided in case we became a bit chilly throughout the course of the night, everything during our experience was thoroughly thought out and executed with precision.  It was a slow, thoughtfully curated intimate experience cultured by this spectacular restaurant.  The individual experience was so impressive and authentic.  

We, as church leaders, can learn some key principles from this type of atmosphere and intentionality. 

  1. Excellence is a choice.  You don’t just accidentally become excellent at anything. You must put the emphasis on the quality of the product, not just the product itself.  Real excellence is not about being extravagant.  It is when the ordinary takes on extraordinary value.  A carrot is just a carrot (go with me here)! A carrot prepared in a fast food chain versus in a carefully orchestrated dish by a human seeking to make it’s true flavor sing are quite different.  Your church most likely has some “ordinary carrots”.  These areas are most likely in every church but you can make a difference by the attention and focus you give to that specific area.  Your “carrot” can be brought to life in a deep and excellent way to reach others.  
  2. Editing is essential. Great chefs are not just masters of flavors only, but also editors of flavors.  Their ability to contain and manipulate flavors actually makes them more creative.  In the same way, more programs or church events are not necessarily the answer.  We must learn to be willing to edit what we do have to work with and make that shine. It’s okay to not do everything and be everything like the church down the road.  Don’t be afraid of “part of the plate being seen”- it only highlights the food.  Often times less really is more.
  3. Experience matters! How you feel at the table you are invited to matters just as much as the invite itself.  Don’t spend all your effort on the invite and let the ball drop on the experience.  So many put their effort into “getting people there” that when the people actually show up, there has been no meaningful planning for their experience.  Think through the entire experience that you would like to have for your visitors and members, from start to finish. Plan accordingly.
  4. Explanations are good, but they aren’t everything.  At our Michelin star dining experience, there was no visible menu. Someone simply described every dish for us.  The expectation is not set by what can be explained, but by what can be experienced. The staff did not have to explain to us how special and unique our experience at the restaurant was going to be- we were well aware as we experienced the fabulous atmosphere and every delicious dish! People will come for the experience of being in the house of God, with the people of God, experiencing His presence together.  Often times, we try to explain what only can be experienced.  The presence of God is what it is all about!