The Special Sauce of Sunrise
by Greg Hanson
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
October 27, 2002


Big Mac – Leader of the Pack (audio file)

That was the “Leader on the Pack” commercial that MacDonald’s ran in 1983 to promote their Big Mac. Any one remember that commercial? Maybe you’ll remember this one…

Big Mac Guy Commercial (audio file)

Recognize it? That was the Big Mac Guy commercial from 1985.

McDonald’s first introduced the Big Mac in 1968. It was the brainchild of Jim Delligatti who was one of Ray Kroc’s earliest franchisees and who operated about a dozen McDonald’s Restaurants around Pittsburgh in the late 1960s.

Jump forward a few years to 1972. A teenager named Don Gorske just got his license and he wanted to go for a drive. So off to McDonald’s he went. The Big Mac was still really the newest menu item, so that’s what he ordered. And day after day off he went to get more Big Macs.

At first, he was pretty much a slob. He’d eat the Big Mac and toss the container into the back seat. That went on for about a month until finally a friend refused to ride with him because of the smell. Don realized he needed to clean out his car.

So he started emptying out the cartons and was shocked to realize that he had eaten 267 Big Macs in the span of a month. That’s roughly 9 Big Macs every day. From then on he recorded every Big Mac he ate and where he ate it.

Last November he passed the 18,000 mark. He still eats about 2 a day, so I guess you could safely add another 6-700 to that total.

For about 30 years Don has been eating Big Macs. And he really likes them. He thinks they’re the perfect sandwich. He even has them for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. He tried some prime rib about a year and a half ago for the first time in 17 years, and thought it was okay. But it was no Big Mac.

All in all he has missed 8 days in the past thirty years. He missed one day for his mother’s funeral, and he missed some days when the local McDonald’s was closed due to weather. But now he’s figured out a solution so that doesn’t happen again… he keeps some in his freezer.

Okay, so let’s figure this out. What goes in a Big Mac again?

“Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.”

Oh, I’ve got something else to show you. I don’t know if you’ll be able to see this clearly or not, but here’s his collection of license plates. (PowerPoint) You’ll notices he’s only missing a plate for “pickles” and another for “on a”.

All right, so those are the things that go into a Big Mac. A groups of students in Wisconsin took those ingredients and figured out exactly what Mr. Gorske has eaten over the past thirty years and over 18,000 Big Macs.

2 Patties of beef = 14 ½ Cattle
Special Sauce = 100 Gallons
Lettuce = 800 Heads
Cheese = 563 Pounds
Pickles = 1900 Whole Pickles
Onions = 820
Sesame Seeds = 6.25 Million

Don really loves Big Macs. A lot of people do. But what makes a Big Mac special? What makes it different that any old burger you’d get anyplace else? Everyplace uses beef, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and onions. A lot of places use sesame seed buns. What’s different? The special sauce. The sauce is what makes the Big Mac unique, whether you’re a Big Mac fan or not. The sauce determines whether you like it or hate it. The sauce is what sets a Big Mac apart.


For the next little while I want to talk with you about the “Special Sauce” of Sunrise. What makes Sunrise different? What sets us apart? What defines who we are? And what goes into our sauce? What are the ingredients?

I’m going to give you five ingredients for the Sunrise Special Sauce. And conveniently, they form the word “sauce”. You’d think I planned that or something.

The first ingredient is that we are sensual.

1. Sensual

Okay, I used that word mainly to make sure you were listening. What I mean by that is that we will engage the senses.

Have you been to Indigo lately? Bookstores aren’t what they used to be. It used to be you’d go in looking for a specific book, find it find it on the highest shelf, buy it, and leave. Now you can make a day of it. You walk through the doors and immediately smell the coffee. So you can wander over and buy a cup of your favorite blend right there. Then you can wander around the store just browsing. Everything’s clean and bright, so you don’t mind walking through the whole store. You can use the public access computers to search for titles or topics or authors that you’re interested in. If you find a book or magazine that interests you, you can sit down in a comfortable chair, sit back and enjoy, all the while sipping your coffee and listening to some nice music in the background. If you’re there with a friend, or even if you just meet someone there, you can even play checkers against each other.

Bookstores like Indigo and Chapters aren’t just bookstores anymore. You can buy books, CDs, or DVDs. You can meet new friends or sit around in nice big leather chairs reading and sipping coffee. They’ve created an environment where people can spend the day. Bookstores like this are more like homes or restaurants.

By contrast, I don’t spend a lot of time in the library. Libraries are fine institutions. They provide all the resources you may need for researching a school project or studying the history of a travel destination. I sign a number of books out of the library, but I never spend much time there. I find what I want and leave.

What’s the difference? Libraries provide information. Indigo provides an experience. Libraries are functional, predictable, too quiet, and sanitary. Indigo creates an environment, it’s comfortable, and encourages people to talk and relax and enjoy some coffee and food.

The Bible says in Mark 12:29-30 (NLT);

Mark 12:29-30 (NLT);
Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’”

For too long a lot of churches have only supplies information. We’ve loved the Lord with all our mind, but neglected the rest. At Sunrise, we want to love the Lord with everything we have. And at this point I can’t tell you everything that means, because I don’t know. But I do know that we’re not going to be afraid to create an environment where people can be comfortable and enjoy getting together, where the can see things that visually engage them, that they can hear things that speak to them, that they can even touch, smell or tastes things that add to the experience. But not just to create the experience. People learn and grow best with all their senses engaged.

I’ve been reading a book called “UnLearning Church” written by Michael Slaughter who’s the pastor of a church in Ohio. He writes…

Flow, connection, expression, community, safety, multifaceted learning, participation, activity, space, aesthetics with form, icons, and artifacts—all of these together are what it takes for people to experience God with all their senses engaged… Churches that reach people today by demonstrating radical Christianity do so by leading people to experience God, not religion.
~ Michael Slaughter, UnLearning Church p. 67

So that’s the first ingredient in our special sauce, engaging the senses.

The second is this:


2. Authenticity

We talked about this some last week. We’ll be a church where people can come as they are and be themselves. We want people to be real. We don’t want people to put on a religious mask and show people how good they are. That’s not what it’s all about. It’s about being honest with God and each other. It’s about being authentic.

We want people to be real in:

A. Their worship of God

John 4:23-24 (NLT);
“But the time is coming and is already here when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for anyone who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

B. Their relationships with each other

“What would happen today if we as leaders were more concerned with integrity of lifestyle than size of institution?”
~ Michael Slaughter, UnLearning Church p. 110

The third ingredient in our secret sauce is:


3. Unity

We are all different. We’re all unique. We all have something we can bring to the party. But at the same time, we’re all in this together. We can love each other and care for each other and work with each other. We’re all different, but we can come together here because of One God.

Eph. 4:4-7 (NLT)
We are all one body, we have the same Spirit, and we have all been called to the same glorious future. There is only one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and there is only one God and Father, who is over us all and in us all and living through us all. However, he has given each one of us a special gift according to the generosity of Christ.

So here we’re going to encourage people to be creative. We’re going to encourage you to bring your uniqueness and add it to the mix. We’re going to talk about Team Sunrise, the people who are a part of this church who worship God in unity and who love each other and serve each other.

One of our key ministries is going to be our LIFE Groups. LIFE stands for:

These groups are going to meet regularly to build relationships with each other and with God. The specific topics that these groups discuss will vary, and they’ll be important. But the most important part of these groups is that they are a place to get to know each other and pray for each other and care for each other and learn from each other.

Our first LIFE Group will begin next Wednesday on Nov. 6 at my place, 28 Maypoint Road. You can pick up information on it at the Information Table. And we’ll add new groups as time goes on. It’s my goal eventually to see at least 80% of the people who are part of Sunrise involved in a LIFE Group.

Unity. It’s one of the basic themes that runs throughout the Bible. Shortly before Jesus was killed, the Bible records a prayer he said:

John 17:20-21 (NLT);
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me because of their testimony. My prayer for all of them is that they will be one, just as you and I are one, Father—that just as you are in me and I am in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me.”

Bickering and slander and gossip and arguing tell people we’re not who we say we are. But if we genuinely love and care for and support each other, we can change the world.


4. Community Mindset

Do you realize that the Church is the only organization in the world that exists primarily for those who aren’t a part of it yet?

We are not here just to build our own little club. We are here to represent Jesus to our city. What did Jesus do? He met needs. He also helped people be reconciled in their relationship with God, but He started by meeting needs.

Now, what does that mean for us? It means that we are going to support organizations like Harvest House that care for people who need food or shelter. It means we’re going to provide resources and training that people need to cope with life. It means we’re going to show the love of God in practical and tangible ways, big or small.

Here are some ideas:

My wife is a pharmacist. And in November, she has agreed to arrange a series of free seminars for people dealing with medications and health issues. Chris Lee is a respiratory Therapist, and he’s going to lead one of these seminars himself. This is a service to the community. We’re not preaching to people, we’re simply modeling the love of God.

In December, I’m working on a couple things. And if either of these interest you, let me know. You can talk to me personally or mark it on your communication card.

The first thing is a Kids’ Day for the community. We would invite children from across the area to come here or someplace else for an afternoon of fun. We could have a magician, clown, puppets, balloon animals, videos, games, a visit from Santa, some food… And we would offer this as an opportunity for parents to either take a break or go and do some much needed shopping. Or they could stay and hang out with other parents. For admission, we could ask each child to bring a non-perishable food item that we could donate to the food bank.

The second thing is a scotch-tape giveaway. This is a little simpler and just a little different. I don’t know about you, but I always run out of tape while wrapping Christmas presents. I think it’s because my wife wraps the wrap with tape. Basically, we would stand outside of someplace like Wal-Mart or Zellers and offer free tape to people on their way out.

Just a couple ideas I’m working on. Let me know what you think.


5. Enrichment

If you enrich milk, what have you do? You’ve added something to it. You’ve added value. We want to add value to lives. We want to help you grow, personally and spiritually, and we want to help you help others grow. We’re not just talking about adding head knowledge, we’re talking life transformation.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)
What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!

So that’s the recipe for our special sauce. Just please, don’t let Don Gorske know.




Copyright © 2002