Lunchroom Leadership: Are you eating… with people?

This is the third post in my blog replay for 2011. This entry was originally posted on April 29, 2011.

The ministry office I work in has a lunchroom. It’s nice. It has everything we need. Vending machines, sink, refrigerator, dishwasher, plates, napkins, tables, chairs. It’s a comfortable place to be. Any day that I am in the office at lunchtime, I go into the lunchroom to eat. On any given day, there are between 3-15 people in there (our office consists of about 70 employees). During these meal times, we talk church, politics, church, what’s happening in people’s lives, education, and church. I think we have created solutions for every problem that we’ve discussed. It’s a good time. I get to know my colleagues, and it fosters collaboration and friendship.

But sometimes I wonder: why don’t more people eat in the lunchroom?

I believe in the philosophy of Lunchroom Leadership. It is an important part of my ministry and takes many different forms. Lunchroom Leadership is about connecting with people and genuinely caring for who they are. And I’ll be the first to admit that I fail at Lunchroom Leadership often. The main reason is because I let the “busyness of ministry” interfere with loving and caring for people. After all, that is what ministry is about. But I’m working on it every day.

Here are seven things I try to do that allow me to practice Lunchroom Leadership:

  1. Eat in the lunchroom at lunchtime with my colleagues (or take people to lunch).
  2. Walk the halls of the church office and say hello to those you work with (and don’t just talk about ministry!)
  3. Stand outside the doors of the church after every service to connect with parishioners (and try to remember names).
  4. Remember birthdays and send a note! (Facebooks helps me a lot!) Extra points if you remember anniversaries.
  5. Write hand-written thank you notes on Mondays to anyone that helped you in ministry the past week.
  6. Connect with volunteers by phone or email every week just to check in.
  7. Genuinely affirm people often.

I’m working on this list all the time. There are weeks I fail miserably. But I know the more I do these things, the more I am able to connect with the great people God has brought into my life.

What ideas would you add to the list?

John Rinaldo

As the Business Manager at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Morgan Hill, CA, Dr. John Rinaldo serves as the administrator over operations and finances for the parish in support of all parish ministries. Previously, John served as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, empowering parish communities to minister to the needs of youth and young adults. John is also an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University teaching pastoral ministry courses to graduate students.


John Rinaldo


As the Business Manager at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Morgan Hill, CA, Dr. John Rinaldo serves as the administrator over operations and finances for the parish in support of all parish ministries. Previously, John served as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, empowering parish communities to minister to the needs of youth and young adults. John is also an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University teaching pastoral ministry courses to graduate students.



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