But I Want to Be Fed!

When you go to most institutional churches, it is obvious that the sermon is the main gig.  People can be late and miss the time of singing, but still give a sigh of relief because they didn’t miss the sermon.  In the place where we attended for a time, no one was allowed in or out of the room during the sermon time so that no one would be distracted.

Due to this focus, people have been trained that they come Sunday morning, sit, and are fed.  Whether Sunday morning was “good” or not is all decided on whether the sermon was good, interesting, really touched my heart, or whatever else I want to say about it.  I hear the phrase, “I need to be fed,” often in the institutional church…and sometimes in the home church amongst new members.  We want the pastor, priest, minister, or teacher to “feed” us. Some people will even switch institutional churches because they “were not being fed.”But in reality, only infants need to be fed.

I’ve never gotten this idea.  God teaches us throughout our week, at least he tries to in small whispers if we just listen during our busy lives.

But, the big question is, are our church gatherings supposed to be a lesson time?

I believe this is a twisting of what the church is meant to be.  Yahweh made the church (a body of believers) for a purpose.  We need one another, but in what way.  I think the answer is in the study of spiritual gifts.  We are all, as believers, given spiritual gifts.  But they are not all teaching, pastoring, evangelism, or apostleship.  God gives the gifts hospitality, encouragement, service, mercy.  The reason seems to be that we need these things as well.

The problem arises when we see the church as a teaching vending machine.  Go get your portion of a lesson.  Make me walk out saying, “hmmmm, that was a good sermon”  Instead of thinking, “What is my Spiritual gift?  Is God calling me to use my spiritual gift right now?”

We gather weekly, and I never think I’m getting together with our church to learn something.  This may occur, but it is not my expectation.  Instead, because I have been affirmed by our church that one of my spiritual gifts is encouragement, I think about people and their week.  I wonder who has struggled, fought with their spouse or child.  Who may need my encouragement and listening ear.  This is a very different outlook then, “What is the pastor going to feed me this week.”

When we start looking at the church in a different light – a body with many parts fitting perfectly together – Then maybe we’ll stop thinking about “being fed” and think about loving others and doing our part.

Sadly, until the church in a building restructures, I fear that people will be kept as infants and miss out on truly using their spiritual gifts as God intended.

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6 thoughts on “But I Want to Be Fed!

  1. I was totally guilty of this when we were still involved in institutional church! One of the most delightful surprises since we’ve embraced a simple form of church has been how much more we learn every time we gather together. We don’t have a prepared sermon, but the Holy Spirit composes a sermon in real time, using pieces brought by each member of the body. When we focus on listening and obeying, he meets all our needs, including the need to learn from him.

  2. The key statement is this post for me is “But in reality, only infants need to be fed.”
    Though I am in complete agreement with the foundational content of this post that speaks to the fact that we need to exercise our spiritual gifts when we come together, I believe there is two other layers that needs to be peeled away as to why the institutional church is keeping the masses at an infancy level of spiritual growth and development.

    First, I believe that these environments do a poor job and teaching and training the people how to hear the voice of God. Some churches have sermons and course on prayer but they approach prayer from a “what to say to God” perspective versus a “how to hear from God” perspective.

    Second, I believe that without this first the second will never come to pass. The second need that the body of Christ needs to be taught is, how does one position themselves to be personal taught by God?

    It is through this hearing and learning directly from God on a personal level that spiritual gifts are discovered, developed and deployed in the most accurate and effective ways possible and where true spiritual maturity is experienced.

    This experience introduces what Jesus as a human being experienced which serves as the model of what all God believing people should be experiencing. A “As I hear my Father speak I speak” and an “As I see my Father do I so likewise experience” way of doing and living [John 8:28, 12:49-50, 5:19].

    There is so much that I have in my heart to share on this topic. It bewilders me that the institutional church are organizations that teach and tell stories about God according the level of their understanding but for the most part they fail to teach the congregant how to personally connect with God in such a way where they can learn about God from God and where the story that we all need to learn-the story of our lives-as God sees and wills it is personally revealed to us by Him.

  3. I agree. There may be the teaching on this topic, and there may be very good intentions, but if everything is done for you by someone else then perhaps that connection does not happen for many, though it did for me while I was still in the institutional church and I know some who connect very personally with God there. In other words, perhaps people never learn to recognize the voice of Yahweh because they can not believe he would speak to them regularly; they are always looking to the pastors to speak to them….they are kept as infants not always recognizing their father’s voice.

  4. God has been showing me lately that I have been guilty of this in the past, even as a pastor. Recently being involved in a small church though, has opened my eyes, we were so small that everyone had to serve the congregation to keep the church going. It was a struggle learning to let go of some of my control issues, but was a blessing to watch this small part of the body grow in the understanding of community.

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