Artisan Pizzas and Church Programs

Running into a facebook friend in real life can be an interesting experience for me.  While we may not have spoken in some time, they will inevitably know what I have been cooking.  I am one of those obnoxious people who get bored while standing at the grill and, rather than doing something productive, snap pictures of what they are cooking and post it to facebook.  Over the last few years, I have slowly become a foodie, thanks to websites like yelp.

Nationwide, the foodie trend has slowly picked up steam over the last few years, to the point that Domino’s recently unveiled a line of Artisan Pizza’s.  Now, I am not the brightest of bulbs, but something seems a little fishy to me here.  I checked out the definition of artisan, and this is what I found:

pertaining to or noting high-quality, distinctive products made in small quantities: artisan beer.

I would hate to throw the quality of Domino’s products into question (especially if any of their corporate lawyers are reading this), but the idea of calling something that is massed produced, artisan, really left me scratching my head.  After reading the Los Angeles Times article on the pizzas, it would seem that I am in good company.

Now, as a former youth pastor whose apartment was next door to a Domino’s Pizza, my intent here is not to decry the name of the ones who made me popular with my students (if you feed them…).  What I am wondering, however, is how often do we pull a Domino’s in the church world?  How often do we slap a popular buzz word on a program and hope that people buy it?  Buzz words like community, discipleship, missional, or outreach are often used to describe an event or program… but how often do they truly deliver on that buzz word’s promise?

Are we trying to pull a fast one on people?

How do YOU ensure that YOUR church programming is what it says it is?

Just to prove that I have no ill will towards Domino’s (or any of their corporate lawyers that might be reading this blog), I will give a random commenter a $20 Domino’s gift card.  All I ask is that you leave a comment before noon eastern on Thursday, October 13, 2011 and send out a tweet (or share on facebook) about this post.  Easy, right?


About the Author: Matt Steen

I love Jesus, Theresa (my wife), the Redskins & Capitals, and am currently living in Waco, Texas where I am studying the finer points of BBQ (while working on my MDiv and MBA at Baylor University). When not studying, I serve church leaders through MinistryBriefing.com and am the Director of Connections for Harris Creek Baptist Church's Downtown Campus.

  • Robert Pooley

    Definitely something to think about… would’ve loved to have actually seen your thoughts had you explored it a little deeper.

    • http://www.churchthought.com Matt Steen

      I am going to interact with this a little bit more tomorrow. 

      • William Tarbush

        I am looking forward to a little more on this. I have no effect on Church programming at the moment, but I’ll be done with school in about a year and really look forward to making a difference beyond what I do now.

  • http://twitter.com/connectboise Ryan McCullough

    Relevant article on authenticity.  Being congruent is extremely important. That is, we must be the same in our actions as we are in our words. Enjoyed reading it.  I’m hoping for the coupon!

  • Bill Kraski

    Interesting thoughts.  There was a post on Google+ about a month ago where the original poster used the term “community”.  My response was that I wasn’t used to the word “community” being used in place of the “Body of Christ” or “the church”.  Community generally speaks of a common interest, not a common nature.  It’s been used that way for decades in newsgroups and forums.  

    The problem isn’t so much the buzz words as the insistence on redefining them to fit the circumstances.  Just to sound “cool”.  The end result is that we misrepresent not only what we want, but what Christ wants.  And the misuse makes it more difficult for anyone to meet a poorly defined set of expectations.

    • http://www.churchthought.com Matt Steen

      The words all become trite, and we no longer fully understand what it is that we are trying to do…

  • http://twitter.com/derekhmiller Derek Miller

    organic is another buzz word that I hear thrown around a lot. As in, “we want this to happen organically”. I’m not really sure what they mean, though I think it is often used in contrast to “systemically” or “organized”. But organic things are collections and products of systems, aren’t they? It is all a bit confusing to me.

    • http://www.churchthought.com Matt Steen

      Exactly!  Baltimore has made you wise.

  • Dayna DeHaven

    It’s Important for Christians not to become “outdated,” either. Words evolve, and come to mean different things in the mainstream than they did when the dictionary was first printed. (I know dictionary definitions get updated and words are added, but this is typically years after trends have begun.) Who cares that artisan means something different by definition than how Dominos meant it, or that people substitute “Body of Christ” for “community of believers?” To be relevant, Christians need to keep up with the times, and not be so resistant to mainstream lingo.*

    *Disclaimer: If words are changed to intentionally disguise the original meaning then I am firmly against it, but I have no problem with organic or artisan or community :) I use “organic” often to refer to something that isn’t forced. “Let’s let this worship ministry grow organically through holidays congregants rather than hiring professional musicians who don’t attend out church.”

    • Dayna DeHaven

      Holidays? Volunteer. Gotta love autocorrect!

    • http://www.churchthought.com Matt Steen

      Thanks for commenting, Dayna!  

      I have no issue with using language that is current… my issue is when we use that language to paint a picture of something that we aren’t doing.  For instance, a “community group” which is really nothing more than a vehicle for someone to deliver content, instead of really foster community (that is my bleary eyed first example that comes to mind).  

      Your disclaimer is my big concern… and I think we do that in the church far too often… whether intentionally or not.

  • http://twitter.com/gpfarah Gregg Peter Farah

    ouch!!!! great post, MAtt. 

  • Pingback: Leadership Reading List: The Dog Poop Initiative - churchthought.com churchthought.com()