In-N-Out Burger & Church

Most of us on the East Coast aren’t familiar with In-N-Out Burger, a California-based fast food chain. You can read more about it here.

The stores are known for their simple, focused menus. You won’t find a chicken sandwich or a taco salad, for example, at any In-N-Out Burger. Instead, it’s all burgers all the time.

So I love the philosophy of founder Harry Snyder:

“Do one thing and do it the best you can.”

Music to my ears.

See, most churches tend to operate like the “family” restaurants you see with signs advertising “Chicken, Steaks, Seafood, Italian.” That sign is a giveaway that the restaurant underneath it won’t do any of those things very well.

In the same way, churches usually try to offer a wide array of programming, seeking to meet any expressed (or imagined) need. The typical result? By doing everything they guarantee they won’t do anything with excellence. Complexity breeds mediocrity.

So at Good Shepherd, we keep emphasizing simplicity. For years, we were a “large menu” church; now we want to emulate the In-N-Out Burger model. While we can’t do only “one thing,” we can do just a few things.

And do them the best we can.