photo courtesy of Terry Teller
One of my favorite places on the planet is a family restaurant owned by George Agadis and his father, Mike called the Silver Spring Family Restaurant. Located on Marietta Pike in a little Lancaster County village by the same name, it serves as my “second office.” I am there so frequently (5-6 days each week at my breakfast time of 6:00/6:30 am) that people come looking for me there. I joke that I ought to own stock in the place and that I am helping George put his kids through college (the oldest is not yet school age).
It is sufficiently part of my personal experience that I find myself inadvertently marketing the place in my Sunday morning sermons. Many people who want to give me a gift find it safe to get me a gift certificate to the SSFR (as I abbreviate it). I also have what I call a “frequent flier” ticket that after so many breakfasts earns me a free one. (I tend to earn a free one about every two weeks).
I began frequenting family restaurants years ago as an attempt to get out of the Christian bubble of my office to meet and interact with people who are neither a part of my church or even what we call unchurched. More than once God has given me some helpful insights into the community in which I serve and humanity in general because I go and listen.
It also has given me a chance to minister. One day a person who was studying the Bible at his own church, cornered me to talk about Genesis. “There’s a whole lot there. What’s the takeaway from Genesis?” This allowed me an opportunity to talk for a time about being created in God’s image and the Fall. More than once someone has planted themselves across the table from me for some spiritual counsel or stopped by to request prayer. It’s given me an extended flock, so to speak, as I have tried to encourage and help the waitresses. My friend George, the owner, is Greek Orthodox. We come from two streams of Christianity, but have become good friends. One day he said to one of his waitresses, “I have priest … this is my pastor.” I was honored beyond measure by that affirmation.
Too many Christians (including pastors) isolate themselves in little cocoons and miss the great opportunity and privilege of interacting with the world. I am very thankful for the resource Silver Spring provides for me to grow and mature as a follower of Jesus Christ.
Plus, they have the best Eggs Benedict I’ve eaten anywhere.