Review: The Lunch Ladies



Author: Philip Jenkins

Publisher: Self-published

Genre: Ministry/Evangelism


The Lunch Ladies: Cultivating and Actsmosphere is the story of a ministry that changed the culture of an entire congregation. In this book Philip Jenkins takes us on an exciting journey, relaying to us the highs and lows of the Lunch Ladies ministry he began with his youth group just a few years ago. Lunch Ladies is a story full of loneliness, laughter, neglect and transformation.


Lunch Ladies goal is to provide a practical solution to the problem of neglect (cliques, visitors going unnoticed, etc.) we often see in churches. The book itself is divided into three parts:

  • Part 1 – The Cafeteria
  • Part 2 – Successipes
  • Part 3 – Your Cafeteria

Part 1 describes the Lunch Ladies ministry and how it came to be at Mt. Juliet, where the author serves as a youth minister. Part 2 is all about the various success stories that came from this ministry. Think of Part 2 as the testimonial part of an infomercial. Part 3 closes the book walking the reader through the process of setting up their own Lunch Ladies ministry.


There is no substitute for the simple, iconic, unmistakable, authentic love of Christ. After all, it’s not called “the love of Christians” – it’s called “the love of Christ.”

At the time of this writing (1/1/15): Our youth ministry has grown from 100 active students (2010-11 school year) to 203 active students (2014-15 school year)…We have baptized 101 6th-12th graders into Christ since “The Day Indifference Died” back on February 22, 2012…” (Quote included to show success of this ministry in its birth place)


This has been one of the more enjoyable reads I’ve had in a long time. I’ve been awfully distracted from reading lately, but I found myself making time to scarf down the tasty knowledge morsels that Philip served up.

My only complaints about this book are that 1) there were so many jokes that they sometimes distracted from the book and 2) this book is really useful for small congregations (I only include this second point because in one part of the book he encourages ministers of small churches to hang in there, but never really gives much more than a “good luck” to them).

All in all those complaints are very minor (I debated as to whether I should even include them) and do not change the fact that YOU NEED TO BUY THIS BOOK! Every chapter got me more and more excited to start my own Lunch Ladies ministry where I serve. The success stories were incredible, the illustration of Esmin Green was moving and the application was incredibly practical. Philip even provides his email so you can question him about this ministry as you try to get one started.

This was easily the most practical book on evangelism I’ve ever read. This is one of those books that you’ll read and pass along to others, a book that causes you to get up and get to work. If you’re looking to reach more souls in your area, this book is a great place to start. Buy the book. Become a lunch lady. Change the world.

Get a Copy of The Lunch Ladies

People matter. Souls matter. And when we stop to pay attention, lives are changed forever.


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Jack Dodgen is an associate minister in Mannford, OK where he lives with his beautiful wife, Anna, and adorable son, Luke. He is also a Bible student, avid blogger, basketball aficionado, and music junkie.

  1. Reply
    Luke Dockery April 21, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    Hey Jack, I completely agree with your review! I thought Lunch Ladies was fantastic, and as a follow-up to one point you mentioned, Philip truly is interested in following up and helping readers as they seek to implement similar ministries in their local contexts.

    This book merits an incredibly wide readership!

  2. Reply
    Jeremy Roberts April 22, 2015 at 8:44 am

    Was encouraged to read this and I’m glad I did. I finished the whole thing in a day. Very easy and enjoyable read. Regardless of whether you choose to begin a ministry just like the Lunch Ladies, if you’re like me this book will definitely get your creative juices flowing.

    I also love that Philip gives credit to God throughout the whole book. It can be easy for ministers to boast about some new ministry they have developed and share it as if they’ve created the solution to all problems. Philip doesn’t treat it that way. He gives all credit to God and simply offers the Lunch Ladies as an example of how God is working in the lives of young Christians.


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