What is the lunch box's job to be done?

What is the lunch box's job to be done?

And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If one does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins (Lk 5:37–38).

My StarTrek Lunchbox (1968)

My StarTrek Lunchbox (1968)

During Spring cleaning, I came across items my mom stored away in a big trunk when I was a kid. What fond memories they bring back!

What I found in mom’s trunk. When I opened the big trunk marked Kevin’s Stuff, one particular item caught my attention. It was my school lunch box from 1968. Though missing a Thermos, it looked great to me. I excitedly showed it to my grandsons, Sy and Liam.

“Look guys, G-Pop’s lunch box!” (I waited for a reciprocal response which never came.)

“Oh,” they said, “Cool,” with a puzzled look at my lunch box treasure.

“It’s heavy,” four-year old Liam complained.

“It wouldn’t fit in my school bag,” nine-year-old Sy observed, then asked, “Where would a water bottle, ice pack, and sushi go?”

Sushi? What about a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a thermos of milk, I wondered.

I guess my old lunch box was no longer useful to kids today. (Grown-up collectors on ebay would likely be interested if I wanted to sell it. $450. Really?)

In fifty years, lunch containers and the contents changed (though the actual nutrients remained the same). Jesus spoke a lot about containers and their content. For a good match, the container must fit the job to be done.

New Jobs To Be Done. The job to be done for serving new wine requires a new wineskin. Jesus cautions, that job can’t be done with an old wineskin.

For generations, the lunch box took on the shape required by the user. By the 1960’s, lunch boxes became billboards for cultural messages.

In 1968, the job to be done for parents was to carry their child’s lunch. However, the child needed the lunch box to show off their personality and “likes” (as Facebook does today). The advertiser wanted to get people to watch TV shows promoted on the lunch box case. You can see that different groups needed distinct jobs done. Knowing the specific job required ensured that the container fit. (Modern lunchbox photo has compartments, even for sushi!)

Our Church as a Lunchbox.
At a session or team meeting, talk about how your church is like a lunch box containing nourishing contents!

Like my Star Trek lunch box, your church may struggle to deliver what is required today. For those who still want peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, your lunch box may be perfect. But it likely will need updating to adapt, and to be more useful to new, younger groups, or those whose primary language is not English. Like others have done, perhaps you could unite with another church and combine resources to get today’s job done (like sharing and trading peanut butter and jelly for sushi). New opportunities will emerge as we envision our part in achieving the PC (U.S.A.) mission challenge creating 1001 new worshipping communities in the next ten years.

What is the job to be done by your church? Ministry takes place when there is an exchange perceived as valuable by the church and the community. We are sent out to do many things.

The obvious job to be done inside the church includes providing a comfortable place for worship, preaching, and sacraments.

Very different jobs are needed to be done outside the church. Ask yourselves, what local/global justice, civic, or social jobs need to be done? How can you and your congregation help? Do you know and understand the struggles and challenges young people experience today? What jobs do they need to get done in their lives?

These are a few jobs to be done. Think about what resources, values and priorities are needed. The entire presbytery, its committees, and staff are your partner to accomplish your mission— adapting your lunch box container and its contents to deliver what is needed to maximize the Gospel’s impact on our world today. What’s the message in your lunch box?

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