What Dan Cathy actually said:
Posted on Jul 16, 2012 | by K. Allan Blume/Biblical Recorder
CARY, N.C. (BP) -- Dan Cathy oversees one of the country's most successful businesses. As president and chief operating officer of Chick-fil-A, Cathy leads a business with 1,608 restaurants that had sales of more than $4 billion dollars last year. They sell chicken and train employees to focus on values rooted in the Bible.
His father, S. Truett Cathy started the business in 1946, when he and his brother, Ben, opened an Atlanta diner known as The Dwarf Grill (later renamed The Dwarf House). In 1967, his father opened the first Chick-fil-A restaurant in Atlanta. Today, Chick-fil-A is the second largest quick-service chicken restaurant chain in the United States based on annual system-wide sales.
Dan Cathy's success has not erased the biblical values he learned as a child in a Baptist church. He is a warm, common man who is deeply committed to being a faithful Christian witness. And he is fully involved in New Hope Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Ga. He drives Chick-fil-A's efforts to provide genuine hospitality, ensuring that customers have an exceptional dining experience in a Chick-fil-A restaurant. Based on Matthew 5:41, Cathy is on a mission to provide customers with "second-mile" service -- exceeding even the highest expectations of a typical fast-food restaurant.
"We don't claim to be a Christian business," Cathy told the Biblical Recorder in a recent visit to North Carolina. He attended a business leadership conference many years ago where he heard Christian businessman Fred Roach say, "There is no such thing as a Christian business."
"That got my attention," Cathy said. Roach went on to say, "Christ never died for a corporation. He died for you and me."
"In that spirit ... [Christianity] is about a personal relationship. Companies are not lost or saved, but certainly individuals are," Cathy added.
"But as an organization we can operate on biblical principles. So that is what we claim to be. [We are] based on biblical principles, asking God and pleading with God to give us wisdom on decisions we make about people and the programs and partnerships we have. And He has blessed us."
Rather than leading from his corporate office in Atlanta, Cathy chooses to spend the majority of his time traveling to the chain's growing family of restaurants and interacting with Chick-fil-A's committed team members. His actions stem from a belief that working in the field provides a clearer understanding of the needs of Chick-fil-A customers. Leading from the front line also enables him personally to convey his servant spirit to the chain's 61,000-plus employees.
Cathy believes strongly that Christians are missionaries in the workplace. "Jesus had a lot of things to say about people who work and live in the business community," he said. His goal in the workplace is "to take biblical truth and put skin on it. ... We're talking about how our performance in the workplace should be the focus of how we build respect, rapport and relationships with others that opens the gateway to interest people in knowing God.
"All throughout the New Testament there is an evangelism strategy related to our performance in the workplace. ... Our work should be an act of worship. Our work should be our mission field. As long as we are stateside, let's don't think we have to go on mission trips by getting a passport. ... If you're obedient to God you are going to be evangelistic in the quality of the work you do, using that as a portal to share [Christ]," he said.
When asked if Chick-fil-A's success is attributed to biblical values, Cathy quickly said, "I think they're inseparable. God wants to give us wisdom to make good decisions and choices." Quoting James 1:5, he spoke of how often he asks God for wisdom.
"Frequently Jesus challenged us to just ask ... we're simply not asking as often as we should. We need to be more faithful to depend on a God who does love us and wants to have a relationship with us, and wants to give us the desires of our hearts."
There is another success story attributed to Cathy's organization. They have a positive influence in the world of Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and Southeastern Conference (SEC) football.
There was a time when the Atlanta college football bowl game, which is now named after Chick-fil-A, was called the Peach Bowl. The annual bowl features teams from the ACC and the SEC. It struggled for a long time. Then 15 years ago the Chick-fil-A organization got involved. It was rebranded as the Chick-fil-A Bowl and has been incredibly successful with 15 consecutive sellouts.
"We are the only bowl that has an invocation. It's in our agreement that if Chick-fil-A is associated in this, there's going to be an invocation. Also, we don't have our bowl on Sunday, either," Cathy said.
In 2008 Chick-fil-A began sponsoring a Chick-fil-A Kickoff game matching two of the nation's top teams and hosted on the first weekend of the season in the same stadium (Georgia Dome) as the Chick-fil-A Bowl. This year Chick-fil-A will host two kickoff games, one on Friday and one on Saturday.
"That's never been done before," he said.
The pair of Chick-fil-A Kickoff games is expected to generate more than $60 million in economic impact. The bowl website describes the event as "a college football celebration of epic proportions."
When questioned about Chick-Fil-A's "Closed on Sunday" policy Cathy responded, "It was not an issue in 1946 when we opened up our first restaurant. But as living standards changed and lifestyles changed, people came to be more active on Sundays."
The policy has not changed over the years as malls began changing their policies by opening on Sundays.
"We've always put in our lease that we will be closed on Sundays," Cathy said. "We've had a track record that we were generating more business in six days than the other tenants were generating in seven [days]."
"While developers had no identity whatsoever with our corporate purpose to 'glorify God and be a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and have a positive influence on all that come in contact with Chick-fil-A,' they did identify with the rent checks that we wrote to the mall, that were based on our sales.
"So, they would make an exception for Chick-fil-A when they wouldn't make an exception for anybody else, simply because they knew we would pay them more in rent than any other tenant would that was open even seven days a week."
The company invests in Christian growth and ministry through its WinShape Foundation (WinShape.com). The name comes from the idea of shaping people to be winners.
It began as a college scholarship and expanded to a foster care program, an international ministry, and a conference and retreat center modeled after the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove.
"That morphed into a marriage program in conjunction with national marriage ministries," Cathy added.
Some have opposed the company's support of the traditional family. "Well, guilty as charged," said Cathy when asked about the company's position.
"We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.
"We operate as a family business ... our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that," Cathy emphasized.
"We intend to stay the course," he said. "We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles."
K. Allan Blume is editor of the Biblical Recorder, online at BRNow.org.
4 Things we can learn from the
Penn State tragedy
July 25, 2012
4 Things we can learn from the Penn State tragedy
· Evil prevails when good men do nothing.
The oft misattributed quote from Sir Edmund Burke nonetheless rings true. What was spawned behind the seemingly congenial face of that assistant coach was just evil. He shattered the lives of young boys who were looking to someone they could trust. The tentacles of that evil are still reaching out and, unfortunately, the ramification of his actions will be felt for years to come. No doubt, many of the people involved in the decisions at Penn State could be seen as “good” men. Yet their inaction led to the destruction of lives and careers in the near term, and undercuts personal and organization trust in the long term. Will they ever be able to trust anyone again?
· Young men are looking for mentors and will find them anywhere they can find them.
Whenever there is an increase in gang activities, another truth is recited. Young men are looking for mentors. In Agrarian societies that mentor was Dad or an older brother. In an industrial society, when fathers began to work away from the home, coaches and youth leaders stepped into the gap to assist with that mentoring. I remember my own high school lacrosse coach, Rich Florin, who for a short time became the man I looked to for guidance. In today’s society, as men and women punch out of marriages (and their responsibilities), father’s become too busy ‘earning a livin,’ and coaches and youth leaders become distrusted, who are young men going to turn to? What is for sure: They are going to turn to somebody.
· If good men don’t step up, the bar for the next generation is lowered.
In the Old Testament book of Exodus, God says the sins of the father are visited onto the third and fourth generation. I believe that scripturally but also experientially. I see the shortcoming of Dad’s replicated in sons and grandsons. I see philandering fathers begetting philandering young men, alcoholics opening up a gateway to alcoholism amongst their kids, and disengaged Dads producing disengaged sons. Believe me, I am highly sensitive to my own shortcomings and how they will potentially hurt my son and my daughter. But I know that if I don’t step up, there are people out there who are more than willing to lead my children and their friends down the wrong road. We need to take responsibility for today while it is still today.
· Our nation’s future starts with authentic manhood today.
I am tired of hearing people talk about this younger generation in negative terms. And I am growing impatient with good men who want to stand on the sideline under the different banners we seem to wave. “I’m too busy.” “I’m too old.” “I’m too young.” “I have my own to worry about.”
If good, albeit imperfect, men refuse to engage, we leave the playing field to Evil.
Drifting (4 of 4)
June 13, 2012
Let’s end this series where we started it --- in the Bering Sea. A strong storm is bearing down on the fleet. An Arctic Hurricane! The decision is made…we can’t stay where we are; let’s run for cover! The camera pans to the captain with his hand fully engaging the throttle. Full speed ahead!
We have been talking about drifting over the past few weeks. We have said that just like drifting with the currents of the Bearing Sea, spiritual drifting almost always ends in disaster. Life on the rocks. But how do you get the power to get life back on track?
Listen to the writer of Hebrews 12;
Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit!
Sometimes, the antidote to drifting is just getting it in gear.
- In Sports, it’s called taking it to the next level.
- In Business, it’s called digging down deep.
Sometimes we have to put one foot in front of the other and just go for it. When Israel drifted, God sent real life action heroes to get things going. When the Apostle Paul was blocked in his missionary journey, he pivoted like an NFL running back and headed in another direction, finally ending up in Macedonia. He didn’t hang it up or hang out.
In our faith walk, we often succumb to a religious lie. We equate peace with inactivity. Waiting with spiritually. God never intended it that way.
Even when the Bible says wait, it doesn’t mean sit on your hands.
The word used in the old testament for wait means “to serve," "to minister," “to act in the capacity of servant or attendant.” It can imply an attentive ear or a heart open to the direction of a master or king with the expectation that the master will respond. It doesn’t imply inactivity.
Activity should never be equated to real spirituality but faith-led activity will lead us to a clearer understanding of Jesus. In the book of Judges, there is a weak young man named Gideon who God found in a hole pressing grain because he was so afraid of his enemies. By taking “baby steps,” putting one foot in front of the other, Gideon began to trust God, see His purpose and became a great hero of Israel.
God wants you to be that hero, too. If you or your family is drifting, maybe what is needed is to get on with it. Start serving God. Maybe it means delivering food to an elderly neighborhood or taking that fatherless child to a ball game. Maybe it means showing the love of Christ to a family who is going through a tough time. Start with one step and see what happens.
Drifting (3 of 4)
June 6, 2012
“Anyone around that could hold a flashlight for me?”
Sounds like a simple question but for a kid who grew up with a Dad who could and would fix anything, it meant holding a beam on some object for endless hours. It could be focusing the lamp on the spring of an old brake shoe. Or it could have been under the hood, as my Dad would reset the “points” on the car. One time, I stood looking down into a hole in our backyard as Dad tried to unplug a clogged sewage pipe.
“Keep the light steady Bob.”
“I can’t, I am shivering too much.”
I wouldn’t admit it for years but I learned a lot during those flashlight times. I learned a lot about cars. I realized a clogged drain was nothing to fear. I even learned about how to deal with mistakes, like the time we tried to straighten out the frame of a 1964 Rambler and ended up jacking the garage off its foundation.
We learn through flashlight times.
Hebrews 12 talks about flashlight time with Jesus:
Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. (The Message)
Flashlight time reminds us of God’s power. Life can really drain us. Sometimes it gets so tough, that the thought of getting off the boat becomes way too real. I know there are times in scripture where Jesus felt the same way. In the Garden of Gethsemane the urge to quit was real. But He never lost sight of his mission. And as a result he had an “exhilarating finish.”
We can regain power by flashlight time with Jesus. Hold that beam on him. See how he would handle the situation. Read up on his story and then ask what would Jesus do?
Power comes through focusing on the person not the page. There is a pretty amazing story in the bible about a Brave King named Hezekiah. You see the Israelites had kept a relic from Moses trek across the desert. It was a bronze snake that God used as a faith lesson. Unfortunately, this 650 year old bronze snake, as time went on, it became an object of worship for the Israelites. Hezekiah did something really gutsy. He smashed it to pieces because he realized in the mind of the people it had become the object of their worship.
I love the Bible. But sometimes we read the book and forget the real point of why we are reading it. I rarely read a book just to read a book. Reading a book on fixing a marine engine doesn’t get me anywhere unless I pick up a wrench and start working. Reading about Teddy Roosevelt may be fun but there is an application step involved in reading a biography. It’s called building character. It is the same with scripture. We are reading the Bible to know about Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. It is in Him that the power lies. As a result, reading scripture should always be followed by two questions.
What does it tell me about God?
What does it tell me about how HE would want me to live?
If you find yourself drifting, one of the ways to harness the power is by studying Jesus. That will shoot adrenaline into your soul!
Okay a quick recap.
1. We will drift if we don’t have God’s power in our life
2. One way we can stop the drift is harnessing the power of Christian relationships.
3. Second way, we can stop the drift is by studying Jesus.
4. Third way, we can stop the drift….well, tune in next week to see.
Drifting (2 of 4)
May 30, 2012
I am such a knucklehead. Back when I was in college, I had a Ford Maverick. It was a great looking car but, boy, did it have its share of mechanical problems. One time I rolled into a gas station in Springfield, Ohio, turned off the car, gassed it up, and then went to start up the car. Nothing! Not even a click. Ended up replacing all the major parts in the electrical system, one by one! Ugh. The problem turned out to be a stinkin’ battery cable.
Last week, we talked about how we drift when we don’t have God’s power in our lives. That power supply is the Holy Spirit written about in Ephesians 1. The question is how do we harness that power? Well, God gives us a battery cable – A group of wire bundles twisted together that works to power our souls. These individual wires bundled together transfer God’s power to us. When one of these bundles is working we are strengthened by God’s power. When all work together we thrive. When we don’t take advantage of all of them we are diminished in some way.
Hebrews 12:1-3 is a battery cable. It talks about how we shoot power into our souls!
Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
The power that comes through Christian relationships
Being around Veterans of the faith. The reason the Bible says not to bail on the fellowship of believers has nothing to do with filling the local church building. In fact you can spend an entire lifetime doing the church thing and never experience fellowship ---- sad to say. The purpose of good Christian relationships is mutual encouragement. To pick one another up when we are down. To straighten each other out when we need straightening. To point us back to the road when we get off it. It is risky and takes commitment, but boy can it give you a jolt of power.
People drift because they have never harnessed the power that comes from true Christian fellowship. A good fellowship is a place where power is continually transferred. And where there is power; there are sparks. Sparks fly, in a good way!
Being around Jesus. My all time favorite quote is from the famous philosopher, A. Nonymous. “The main thing is keeping the main thing, the main thing.” Our direct, uninhibited relationship with Jesus has to be the main source of our power. It is a live wire. This one is the main trunk line. When Jesus talks to the disciples about the vine and the branches, he is saying, “I am your power source.”
Many people drift because they discount the importance of prayer. Their faith has become impersonal. They have forgotten that there is someone listening on the other end of the 1 800 prayer line. A nationally known pastor a few years ago wrote a great book called, Too Busy NOT to pray. He’s right. Think about it. If I was a ship’s captain on the Bering Sea and I knew of an Old Salt who had sailed every inch of that body of water, I would want him as an advisor. Wouldn’t you? I would talk with him as often as I could. Won’t you? Yet we seem to forget to maintain the same type of relationship with the person that Colossian’s says has sailed the entire universe -- Jesus.
So one way to get the Christian motor running again in your life is establishing and maintaining real Christian relationships. Don’t get church attendance confused with real relationship. Getting to know people and Jesus in a one hour span on Sunday morning is a little like trying to get to know a future spouse at the opera. Just doesn’t work. You get to know if they like opera or not but that is about it. Relationship building is a time consuming process with a lot of give and take. It is well worth it though.
Next week: More solutions to stop the drift.
Drifting (1 of 4)
May 23, 2012
I like watching the show, The Most Dangerous Catch, on Discovery. It’s the story of Alaskan Crab Fishermen on the Bering Sea. In recent episodes, one boat developed engine problems and the captain had to decide whether he should continue fishing with just one engine or head back to port and get the second engine fixed. He was asked about a big storm brewing. He responded, “I am not as worried about the storm as I am about being without power.” You see when there is no power; the ship gets pushed around by the smallest of waves. With power, the ship can maneuver around difficulties. Without power, it is at the mercy of the environment and, unfortunately, only bad things can happen.
Scripture tells us that left without God’s power, we drift.
Galatians 5:19-21a says “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin.” We don’t like talking about our sinful nature but the reality is we all have it. It is our default program. When we go by it, we drift.
Societies drift. In the book of Judges, scripture shows us how Israel wandered and how God had to constantly bail them out. Both the Greek and Roman Empires in a less spiritual way, experience the same. They drifted from their core ideals. Some would say we are seeing the same drift happen in our country today. It just happens. It is the natural flow of things.
Churches drift. The book of Revelation focuses on several churches that started out strong but ended up….well, wrong. Today, local churches become so caught up in people (the people I like), programs (the programs I like) and processes (the processes I trust) that they forget their purpose. Sometimes it results in quarreling, outbursts of anger, and divisions. More often it is marked by apathy. It, too, just happens. It is the natural cycle of things.
They drift mainly because people drift. Organizations drift because leaders and people are apt to drift. Ecclesiastes speaks to the drifting of King Solomon. He started out pretty good (or so he thought.) He just sought after other things. Other things became his focus and eventually he found himself “chasing after the wind.” It stinks chasing after something you can never catch. The Apostle Paul tells of Demas, a friend who bailed at Paul’s hour of need because “he loved this world.” There is no indication that Demas did anything weird. It didn’t say he came out of the closet. It didn’t say he covered himself with tattoos or got addicted to drugs. All it says is that other things became his priority…..nothing more is ever heard of Demas. He just drifted away.
When the old hymn writer Robert Robinson penned the words, “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love” and when it was recorded for the billionth time by Jars of Clay a few years ago, they weren’t kidding. We drift.
Just like in the Bering Sea, spiritual drift is rarely positive.
It leads to a life off course. Most of us see how things like sexual immorality and idolatry can lead to a shipwreck. We forget the other signs of drift are far more common. The anger, jealousy, selfish ambition and envy issues are the things we all deal with at one time or another in our lives. These are the signs that indicate drift for most of us.
Are you drifting? Is your family drifting?
The Good News is just like in the Bering Sea, drift can be stopped and direction restored by the application of power. That power is the Holy Spirit. That ‘incomparably great power’ which is promised to us, in Ephesians 1:19 “is like the working of his mighty strength which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead.” Wow, that’s power!
Scripture gives us mechanisms to apply that power in our lives and over the next few weeks we will look at them.