I am a huge fan of In-N-Out. From the top to bottom, I pretty much like everything about them. I like their double-double burgers, their crispy french fries, and especially their strawberry milkshakes. If I could eat their every week and not blow up like an overfed Thanksgiving turkey, I would.

But I like their secret menu items more. In fact, my favorite thing at In-N-Out is their animal style fries. It’s a perfect blend of secret sauce, plus grilled onions, covered in a warm blanket of cheese. It’s my favorite, and if someone wants to deliver some to me now, I would take it. For real, bring me some!

At In-N-Out, they do simplicity well, and have been for decades. Their menu has not really expanded, and their secret menu stuff is completely secondary to their main menu. In fact, the secret menu is not even published, hence the name “secret’.

Churches have main and secret menus. 

The menu at Catalyst is simple: Sunday morning worship, weekly sermon-based Connect groups, and service opportunities within church and community every week. That’s it. Simple. Focused. On mission.

We also have a secret menu, or things that people like to do, that are not a part of our main menu, but that fit within our mission. These items change with regularity, or a season within groups. From book studies to one-time service projects. It’s not that it’s secret; it’s just not CORE.

At Catalyst, these menus are not in competition. However, I have been at churches where they are. In fact, these secret menu items have become more important then the CORE of the church. Things like women’s ministry crowding out Small Groups comes to mind right off the bat.

If you are a church leader, I want you to take in this post for a moment and this on a few things, and then act:

  1. What is on your main, advertised menu?
  2. What’s on the secret menu?
  3. Are those two things in competition?
  4. What does your church (and you) value more?
  5. How can you make positive changes to make sure your church stays on mission?
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