McDonalds, Church Planting, and Open Hands

Back when I was in grade school, I remember having a conversation with a mentor I greatly admired about how delicious double cheeseburgers at McDonalds are.

I love(d) double cheeseburgers, mostly because I love cheese and meat, so any time I get double cheese and double meat, I’m a happy person.  The double cheeseburger then, is a stroke of genius.

So you can imagine how shocked I was when Edwin, my mentor who was in college at the time, told me, “I really don’t eat McDonalds.  One day you’ll find that you really won’t like McDonalds either.”


That sounded like heresy to me.

Why was it heresy?

Because back then, I wanted to eat McDonalds every day, every meal.

I couldn’t possibly fathom a life without wanting McDonalds every day, every meal.


Fast forward 20 years or so, and I can’t remember the last time I had McDonalds (Taco Bell is a different story).  Was it a year ago?  Two years ago?

I don’t remember.

Somehow, Edwin’s predictions rang true.  My appetite for McDonalds is gone.  And really, my appetite for most fast food is gone.

What was once unconscionable for me is now reality.


There was a time in my life when I thought that church planting was never in my future.

I just thought church planting was too… out there.

It took too much guts, too much faith, too much craziness.

And yet, here I am.

We’re on the cusp of our public launch of Hope Church NYC on September 23rd, 2012.

Never in my wildest dreams…


There’s a short book by Henri Nouwen that I read a few years ago called With Open Hands.  It’s a quick read that’s full of long wisdom.

In it, Nouwen talks about praying with open hands versus praying with clenched fists.

Can you picture it?  Open hands vs. Clenched fists.

The image alone is worth the cost of the book, in my opinion.

Am I holding tightly to my ways, my plans, my ambitions?

Or am I holding everything – even the good things that I’m supposed to care deeply about – with Open Hands?

Open Hands vs. Clenched Fists.  You don’t even need to read the book, I imagine, because I think the metaphor says it all.


In many respects, life is so full of curveballs and circumstances outside of our control.

And even things we can control – our wants and preferences for instance – are subject to changing whims and seasons.

I suspect we’d all be a little bit better off if we learned the art of praying – and living – with Open Hands.

Open to the ways God is working in us and through us, molding us and shaping us into what He’s intended all along.

And somehow, we end up in a place that we never thought possible, not even in our wildest dreams.

Whether with McDonalds or Church Planting, I never thought this is where I’d be.

But wow, it’s pretty amazing what God can do.



10 responses to “McDonalds, Church Planting, and Open Hands

  1. How encouraging Drew. Thanks for your thoughtful post – you have the guts, faith, character, and skill to do this church plant thing. In your future however there may be a long car trip on I-80 and the kids will be hungry and cranky and in need of a place to run around, go to the bathroom, and eat. There conveniently on the exit will be … McDonalds.


  2. Hah. Hah. Love Jim’s response. True enough everything in life is cyclical. It takes courage to walk out your faith, Drew, but you are and it’s looking pretty awesome. 🙂

  3. Pam and Rick Chowayou

    Drew – we are so very excited for this new Open Hands journey ahead of you. It must be at times frightening, overwhelming, wonderful and hopeful. Praying with you and fully trusting that God’s hands are open and holding onto yours.

    The Chowayous

  4. Praying for you bro that we both have open hands!

    BTW, McDonald’s has the triple cheeseburger now. If you are 3ver interested


  5. Excited for you, Drew! Hope the launch goes well.

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