A seat at the counter


Go spend the day down at Johnny’s Cafe

All kinds of people there with plenty to say

If you’ve got nothin’ to say to folks at Johnny’s Cafe,

You’ve got nothin’ to say at all.


Walk in any day and you find a slice of life at your table

One man leavin’ his wife, another wishin’ he was able

An old man tryin’ to forget — a young one lookin’ for a label

And the stories they tell, you can’t tell if they’re true or they’re fable


And the lady pourin’ coffee, she knows the regulars by name

And if she doesn’t know you, she calls you “Honey” just the same

And we all love to hear it

Even if we have to fake it

‘Cause it’s nice to think that someone really cares —

Someone cares

Welcome to Johnny’s Cafe, Anywhere, U.S.A. Actually, Johnny’s is a metaphor for anywhere you or I as Christians can meet and carry on a dialogue with members of the world we live in. It’s where we engage those who are different from us, and it’s where we discover some of our own needs as well. Jesus said we were to be His witnesses to the nations. That would mean all nations, tribes, villages, religions, tongues; all peoples, like and unlike us, because — humanly speaking — we are more alike than we are different.

Johnny’s Cafe is where each of us, individually, sits next to the world. It’s not where we face people as a group, like turning the corner booth at Johnny’s into a Christian corner. That might be okay once in a while for a Bible study perhaps, but not as a way of meeting those we don’t know. There are so many cultural assumptions these days made about Christians that have nothing to do with the gospel of welcome and grace turned outward, that it’s best not to come as a group. Best to pick a seat at the counter where you can at least be open to a conversation with someone next to you. They might not want to talk, but then again, you never know, especially when the waitress gets going. The whole counter can come alive sometimes if you’re open to it.

The important thing is that we join in. The best way not to judge or be judged is to enter in. When the waitress calls you “Honey,” take it in. That’s you. You need that sense of belonging as much as the next guy, and from that place we will be more able to identify with others and come alongside. And that, by the way, is how we lead people to Christ, by coming alongside.

Let’s Celebrate!

Let’s celebrate our MemberPartners — The Catch Ministry’s army of servant leaders.

As the heartbeat of The Catch, they provide the ministry direction and focus. They know the power of their contribution furthers God’s kingdom, from certified professional counselors, to prayer warriors, to highly acclaimed technicians, to boots on the ground disciples — our worldwide community of MemberPartners cares deeply for The Catch Ministry and its message: Grace turned outward to everyone, everywhere.

Let’s put our hands together for each and every MemberPartner — for they surely deserve our respect.

Citizens of the Catch Community

— Join Us —

with a

Standing Ovation


The Catch Ministry’s  MemberPartners

and their

extraordinary accomplishments


For the next couple of weeks, we are going to spend the day down at Johnny’s Cafe.  Along with our MemberPartner’s celebration we are going to meet all kinds of people with plenty to say. 

Walk in any day and you find a slice of life — the Catch —  at your table. And now that Jesus is here, you’ll find Him today — any day — down at Johnny’s Cafe. 

Don’t miss The Catch during the next couple of weeks. We have all kinds of surprises for our MemberPartners and sometime this week you will be invited to the real Johnny’s Cafe. We’re holding an open house. So come on in!

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5 Responses to A seat at the counter

  1. Chris Enoch says:

    So let me share with you about a character I met a long time ago. He died yesterday, but I just had to write about him…


    • Very touching and timely, Enoch.
      Thank you for sharing your memoriam about Stephen.

      I’ve recently been reminiscing about the many people (“characters”) from my own past who’ve left their impressions on me to this day. Regardless of whether their influences were positive, negative, or neutral, they were impactful enough to help mold me into who I am presently – for better or worse (hopefully better!).
      And as I enter the twilight years of life, I find that I am thanking God deeply for every single one of these souls – all the Stephen Barkers and everyone else – for their roles they’ve played in my life.

      Thank you, Enoch – May Perfect Shalom, Peace and Comfort embrace you and all those who were close to Stephen.

  2. Seriously? A REAL open house??
    A physical place where we can actually meet one another, shake others’ hands, look into others’ eyes, hear others’ voices, break bread together, and commune with one another in a brick and mortar setting rather than in the virtual world of cyberspace?
    If this is so, I hope you’ll give us plenty of time to make arrangements for transportation and other accommodations!

    Suddenly, I’m musically inspired!
    With apologies to William S. Pitts, I now have a little ditty to share (sung to the refrain from “The Church in the Wildwood”):

    Oh come to the Catch in California
    And rest in the town by the bay
    Those folks are so nice and inviting
    Oh come to Johnny’s Café!!


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