By Dan Britton
"We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News, but our own lives, too."
–1 Thessalonians 2:8
At a recent meeting, one of our FCA East Asia leaders shared a powerful concept that he called, Open Kitchen. In his country, you don’t have kitchens where you can see the cooks. Instead they prepare, cook and make the food behind closed doors. He liked the open kitchen concept in America, allowing you to see your food and cooks the entire time. He liked the concept so much that he decided to use it when identifying leaders to join his team. He wants to do life with them before doing ministry with them.
Open Kitchen is when you are in a person’s home and meeting the family, going to their church and getting to know their pastor. It is easy to do Closed Kitchen when identifying leaders: show up to an interview with a nice presentation about ministry impact, show a well-designed newsletter and tell stories of community transformation. It is easy to impress at a distance but hard to impact up close.
There are three key ingredients in an Open Kitchen:
- Transparency: Open Kitchen is truly life-on-life. Paul encouraged the Thessalonians by not only sharing the Gospel with them, but his very life. It is the original LOL (Life-on-Life, not Laughing Out Loud). Open Kitchen starts with transparency. When we see people only at their best, we never get to transparency. We always connect around weaknesses and struggles. Open Kitchen creates a culture of authenticity, because everything is on the table, not under the table.
- Time: In a microwave generation, we don’t have time to wait and let something simmer and slow cook. Open Kitchen mindset errs on the side of slowing down and letting time reveal true colors. It takes time to discover issues, gaps and obstacles. Closed Kitchen mindset thinks in minutes, hours and days. Open Kitchen thinks in months, years and decades. It takes time to walk with someone, see them at their best and their worst, and to understand the way they approach life.
- Trust: Over time and with transparency, trust is developed. Once trust is established, Open Kitchen begins to happen. When trust is established, there is freedom to be yourself. Communication goes to a whole new level. You can share openly about ideas without being judged. Trust is the result of transparency and time.
There are incredible benefits to Open Kitchen: unity, harmony, chemistry, understanding and connection. On the other hand, Closed Kitchen creates distrust, division, silos and negativity.
Transparency + Time + Trust = Open Kitchen
In my personal life, Open Kitchen forces me to get out of my comfort zone and be open, honest and transparent. Open Kitchen is a radical concept that Paul modeled in his life. He knew that it is easy to impress at a distance, but hard to impact up close. That is why in 1 Thessalonians 2:8 he wanted us to remember to always do Life-on-Life.
Open Kitchen is a game changer. Let’s all purse Open Kitchen in all areas of our life. It might be hard, but worth it.
- What areas of your life are Open Kitchen? Closed Kitchen?
- How can you help create Open Kitchen with your team, teammates and coaches?
- Why is it hard to create Open Kitchen? How can Open Kitchen change your team?
Psalm 133:1; 1 Corinthians 1:10; 1 Peter 3:8; Romans 12:16
Father, thank You for this concept of Open Kitchen. It is hard to get to transparency, difficult to slow down and challenging to build trust, but Lord it is worth it. Help me to pursue Open Kitchen in all areas of my life. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.