Panera Bread + Target + Big Boys = Great Ministry Opportunities`

For 17 years I served as a pastor at local churches in MI and IL. I have filled the role of youth pastor, jr. high pastor, sr. high pastor, assistant pastor, family pastor and yes, clean up guy and staff funny guy.

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For 17 years I had the blessing and privilege of having an office at the Churches I worked at. Some of them great…some of them not. But, now, for the first time in my adult life, I no longer have the blessing of an office.

Now my office is at…

Panera Bread. Kiya Coffeehouse. Big Boy’s. Target. Celebration Cinema. Bigby’s. The Library. Anywhere with free wifi. 

Last month someone had offered me a free office, but the free deal fell through and that’s ok.


For a year now, I have been a church planter. I have been praying about planting and launching a church since this time last year.

Every day we’re getting closer.

Every day God is opening up more doors.

Every day God is giving me great ministry opportunities where I think I missed out in the past.

In the past, I would stay holed up in my great offices completing all the busy work of a pastor. Evaluations, excel spreadsheets, budgets, reports, etc. Not that those are bad, not at all.

But, I would spend great amounts of time working on them, when I could have been experiencing…


1. Panera Bread. I spend a lot of time at Panera. In that time, I have gotten to know many of the staff that work there. Well, a few days ago, one of the managers approached me and asked about our brand new church. She had heard a few customers talking about it and she wanted to know to more. She asked me for information and then said she knew she needed to get her and her kids in church and she would love to come.


2. My Target Cashier. I was in Target not too long ago and typically I try to always to get the same cashier. Doesn’t matter how long or short the lines are, what matters is building a relationship. So, I did my normal joking and then I looked at my phone and laughed. She asked why I laughed and I said, well, I just got the coolest text from someone who visited a brand new church that I’m starting and it made me happy.

Then she asks…is it the church in the movie theater? I said…YES! How did you know that? She begins to tell me that her husband was going to the movies last Sunday with a friend and as they arrived at the theater we were cleaning up from our service. He didn’t think churches could meet in movie theaters and he told his wife that maybe they would have to check it out.


She then said they were going to come this Sunday and I was like oh no!!! We only meet once a month right now and I gave her the date of our next gathering (April 28th) she said she can’t wait for them to come!

3. Big Boys. I was working on a message last Saturday in Big Boys and one of the Hosts came to my table. He apologized for interrupting me and then he asked if I had spoke at YFC a few months back. I said yes and he said…I knew it! He went on to tell me some nice things about my talk that night and then begin pouring out his story. He’s very involved at YFC and his local church.

Now that’s a WIN! He told me he would love to be a youth pastor someday and asked if he could meet with me to talk about it. I said…YES!!!

Then he asks what church I attend and I said, well, a group of us are starting a brand new church at Celebration Cinema’s up in Mt Pleasant. He then gets very excited and says, I can’t wait to check it out. I said that would be great, but I encouraged him to stay plugged in at his church if that’s where God was calling him.


Here’s the deal. I can’t wait to have an office again. I have a home office in my basement, but my basement is unfinished and unheated. I do have a fire place though. And, it works for now.

But…I’m glad I’m not tied to an office any more.

I’m glad that because I’ve spend great amounts of time at Panera and Big Boys, I’ve developed relationships with managers, waiters, and waitresses.

I’m glad I have because ultimately I’m praying for them to meet Jesus.

I’m glad I have because it reminds me everyday how many are far from God.

I’m glad God blesses me with these ministry opportunities.

I just hope that I don’t miss any.

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