Beyond Our Affiliations

Recently Burger King and McDonald’s engaged in a public conversation.

By way of an advertisement in The New York Times, Burger King challenged its “arch”-rival to join them in “a ceasefire” on the so-called “burger wars” and to mark the occasion by selling a mash-up of their two flagship sandwiches, the Big Mac and the Whopper, as the McWhopper, with all proceeds from sales going to charity.

Sadly, BK’s burger remix proposal was met with a rebuff. While McDonald’s expressed interest in doing something meaningful together, no McWhoppers would be made. With that, they added, “A simple phone call will do next time.”

You could say McDonald’s keeps all their special sauce to themselves.

We belong to a church affiliation where we find support, accountability, shared doctrine, and a logo. Like Burger King, we might choose to creatively partner outside of our affiliation. I would guess most of us would admit this can and does yield real rewards.

Author and recent District Council speaker James O. Davis describes the network journey as “moving from competing to completing.” In Luke’s gospel, we find Peter’s nets filled to overflowing and about to break. Seeing the real possibility that many fish could be lost, Peter wisely invites a nearby boat to come with their nets. Instead of competing, everyone shares the harvest and we see the greatest reward. With this in view, Davis asks a fair question: “Can we be trusted with the harvest we are about to catch if we ourselves have not moved from competing with each other to completing each other?”

The best way to fulfill our mission is to leave our logos and egos behind and work together. We can gratefully call our affiliation “home,” but the Kingdom stands to gain the most and the fastest by completing the network.

To start, maybe a simple phone call to your co-laborers is a good approach. At least we can thank McDonald’s for something here.


John Ginnan and his wife Caity are New York’s first Youth Alive Missionaries, serving full time to advance the gospel by powering a movement of students reaching students in New York State middle schools, Jr. high and high schools. They have two young children, live in Syracuse, and are currently completing their itineration here under Assemblies of God U.S. Missions. John is a true fan of authentic relationships and making lasting connections among them.

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