I’m somewhat addicted to food competition reality TV shows.
And by somewhat, I mean completely addicted. My DVR is full of Top this and Next that and Chefs made from Iron. As a connoisseur of this genre, I feel that I can now provide some insight into the contestants.
There are three different types of contestant that always appear:
The Street Fighter: This chef has worked their way up from the bottom. They went to the school of hard knocks and they have everything to prove. The chip on their shoulder can be seen miles away, and they are out to get those snooty, culinary school chefs.
The Recent Graduate: This chef is a recent graduate of a high ranked culinary school. They have their technique down, they know the language and they’re eager to display their knife skills. The knowledge they’ve gained has inflated their head to the point where they are unable to see anyone else around them.
The Old Dog: This chef might have started out as a Street Fighter or a Graduate, but they have 20+ years of experience under their belt. The other contestants are intimidated by this chef’s empire, while they’re just in it to show they’ve still got it. An expert at their style of cooking, they have a hard time thinking outside the box.
Occasionally, there’s a fourth contestant:
The Woman: This chef could also be considered a part of any of the previous three categories of contestant, but they have the added handicap of being a woman in a male dominated field. This is interesting to me because in the home, women are the usual meal provider.
As interesting as you may find my breakdown of reality show food competition contestants, what does this possibly have to do with you? Some of you overachiever ones may have already figured it out…
I see this same breakdown within the church, specifically church leadership.
There is the Street Fighter leader, the one who still sports the tattoos and rebel clothes to prove that they’ve got street cred and a past. They’ve lived and have actually been saved from something, which makes their faith of more importance. They are the ones who want to go out in the marketplace to witness to everyone they see. They’re not afraid to take risks and their ministry is one of passion, heart and soul.
There is the Recent Graduate leader. This is the recent bible college student, with a head full of knowledge and not much experience to match it. They want to name their ministry something in Greek or Hebrew to be authentic. Their hermeneutics are fully exegeted and each bullet point starts with the same letter. They’re eager to try out all of the theories and programs they learned about at school. These leaders are in touch with the latest ministry trends, not really committed to a set style of leadership yet.
The Old Dog leader is set in their ways. They have found a style that fits them, one they’ve found success with, and they’re comfortable. They’re in it for the long haul, and nothing’s going to derail them. They scoff at the notions of the Graduate; they’ve seen trends come and go. Perseverance, hard work and commitment are what’s important.
Then, once again, there’s the ladies. Although women make up the higher percentage of lay volunteers within the church, they’re not really approved to lead. Well, they can lead the women’s or children’s ministries, but they’re still fighting their way forward to compete with the big dogs.
Again, you may have found this all to be interesting, but don’t really see the point in spelling it out.
Here’s the point:
In the reality show competitions, each contestant is striving to prove that they’re better than the others, all the while hiding their own insecurities.
Life experience is better.
Professional training is key.
Age outranks youth.
Gender shouldn’t matter.
The same thing is happening within the church. And everyone is right.
Life experience is important.
Knowledge is useful.
Age provides maturity and wisdom.
Gender differences shouldn’t matter.
But everyone is wrong too.
Life experience without knowledge can lead to poor theology. Knowledge without life experience frequently ends in a cold, lifeless ministry. Age can still learn from youth, and youth needs to respect age. Women are not men, but men are not women; both have a valuable perspective to provide the church.
Instead of viewing it as a competition, we need to recognize that each individual has something unique to provide. We all can learn from each other and become more effective in the process.
Now I need to go get something to eat, all this talk about food has made me hungry.