For many families (ours included), announcing a trip to Chick fil-A is often met with excitement. The kids love the food and the play area. Parents, well, they love the food and the play area too. (It’s like a micro date-night!)
After a recent trip, I began to think how well Chick fil-A understands their business and their customers. And, interestingly enough, how well they understand evangelism.
Knowingly or unknowingly, Chick fil-A has developed a great template we can apply to our lives when speaking to others about Christ.
Here are 3 lessons about evangelism that we can learn from Chick fil-A:
1. God First
Part of Chick fil-A’s purpose statement makes no qualms about where God fits into their business plan. The company desires to “glorify God by being a faithful steward in all that is entrusted to (their) care.” It’s no secret that Chick fil-A is one of only a very few national retailers to be closed on Sundays. The decision to close on Sundays is done specifically so employees can worship and spend time with family.
A God-first approach to life is a must if we are sharing the Gospel. Paul says in Ephesians that we should be “imitators of God” and that we should “walk in love” so that others see Christ through us. The lesson here is that we can’t show others Christ if we are not putting him first in our lives.
2. Integrity Matters
The consistency across Chick fil-A restaurants is pretty amazing. No matter the town, you get the same experience at each restaurant. The underpinning of that consistency is integrity. Truett Cathy, founder of Chick fil-A explained how they choose their store managers, “We evaluate each person as an individual and the importance of honesty and integrity is understood by them up front.”
Integrity should be a guiding principle in our lives. The Bible says that “The integrity of the upright guides them…” (Proverbs 11:3) Jesus lived a sinless, blameless life. Although we cannot do the same, we are his representatives and should strive to reflect his moral nature by what we do, how we live, and what we say. When we share our love for Christ with others, our words need to match our actions or else no one will listen.
3. Respect Others
Chick fil-A states that they “treat every person who comes through (their) doors with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.” Their reason is simple. They want “to glorify God” and “have a positive influence on ALL who come in contact with Chick fil A.” (emphasis mine)
Tolerance seems to only flow one way these days. But we shouldn’t use others’ actions as an excuse to be disrespectful. As a matter of fact, Jesus says to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matt. 5:44) If our true heart’s desire is for family, friends and neighbors to find salvation, we can’t drown out the Good News by being a “noisy gong” that lacks love and respect for others. (1Cor. 13:1) Who would open their ears, much less their hearts, to someone like that?
Perhaps Paul said it best to Timothy: “Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. . . . for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.” (1 Tim 1:13, 16)
We are called to fulfill the Great Commission. (Matt. 28:19-20) But we can’t go to work without the proper tools. Putting God first, maintaining our integrity, and respecting others are the building blocks on which we can fulfill the work Christ has called us to do.