Sometime ago a brother called my attention to a couple of signs he saw posted inside a McDonald’s near him. Signs posted no loitering and a limited eating time of half an hour.
Signs like the one behind Sheila Sanchez of the Anaheim church and Fredrick Young of the Willmington church in LosAngeles, and I, in a McDonalds we did outreach at last Sunday afternoon (below).
The brother posted pictures of the signs on facebook, I believe, and suggested that these might limit the type of outreach that could be done in McDonalds with these signs posted. A rightly so.
Christians should attemp to show honor and respect to others by keeping the rules.
His post generated discussion between two or three people on facebook about its intent and legality. It also convicted me of needing to give more attention to these signs. Up until then I had not personally seen the one in the McDonalds the photo was taken in. I had also all but dismissed brethren’s reports of it, deciding in my own mind that it was probably intended for the homeless who might come in and benefit from the facilities without contributing to the prosperity of the buisness.
Up until now each time I have joined brethren for outreach or study in a restraunt, we have each purchased something.
On the visit when the picture above was taken, I asked the manager what the intent of the sign was and she confirmed my previously stated suspicion, that the sign was to help keep the homeless from setting up camp in that McDonalds.
When asked if that was the purpose of the signs in McDonalds universally, she said she thought so.
When asked if our outreach and Bible studies which most often take us way over the 30 minute limit were Ok, she said yes.
It is right to honor the rules of the establishments we frequent. We should however be careful not to put undo limits on our witness there.
When presuming something about an establishment’s receptivity to our Christian witness, why not presume the best until learning otherwise?
When trying to honor the rules, why not assume the right of the gospel in them, ask for clarity on their purpose and seek permission rather than put limits on the gospel that might not be the intent of the rules.
Sometimes we can’t know unless we ask.