thoughts/ideas/opinions from scott hodge

Wednesday, September 10


In his book, Post-Modern Pilgrims: First Century Passion for the 21st Century Church, author Leonard Sweet talks about a concept called EPIC. EPIC is used to describe the type of environment that the 21st Century church needs to work at creating in reaching our postmodern (pomo) culture.

EPIC stands for:

Image Driven

Monday night I had an "experience" which reminded me how well the "secular" arena creates EPIC environments.

Amanda, Elise and I were on our way (and I'm almost embarrassed to say this - especially living in Chicago where great food is on just about every corner...) to Olive Garden. On our way there, we started having second thoughts about the "Garden" and believe it or not, we were actually having a problem finding one in the area of town we were in, so we ended up going to Buca di Beppo in Lombard.

Now, I've been to Buca zillions of times (in fact, I ate at Buca when it was only one location downtown Minneapolis), but for some reason a few things really stuck out to me on this visit.

As soon as we walked in, we were seated IN THE KITCHEN. Yes, you read that right. We ate at the only table located INSIDE of the actual kitchen (click here)! It was great! Talk about EXPERIENTIAL...

In a way, we participated behind the scenes in what was happening by being right there in the middle of it all. And one of my favorite moments was how whenever they would bring out a new order, they would walk by our table and show us the entree and explain what it was. Too bad I drooled on a couple of them... Great way to PARTICIPATE!

Everywhere you looked there were images of old Italian people, Italian icons, etc... And I can't even tell you what I saw in the bathroom. It's just not right... But this place was definitely IMAGE DRIVEN.

And we felt extremely CONNECTED to what was going on. Every waiter and kitchen staff member stopped by our table to talk to us and actually made us feel a part of a small little "kitchen" community.

With all of that said, I thought it was a great experience and I think there is something that the church can learn from places like Buca, Starbucks, etc... They engage your senses and create a very comfortable place to partake of their product.

BUT, there is one thing that I didn't see them dishing up at Buca - GRACE.

Truly the church IS the hope of the world. So let's take advantage of our product and reach as many people as possible.