When people say that they stop going to church because they weren’t getting fed, I’m just going to be honest, that’s a cop out. Sunday morning is about worshipping Jesus. Somewhere in the church we decided that we couldn’t tell the truth. Truth is, people stop going to a certain church because they don’t like it. You’re right you’re not getting fed on a Sunday morning because the purpose is to glorify Jesus. As a by product your heart will be transformed if you are seeking to engage in worshipping Jesus, but it’s not about being fed.
I wish people would say the truth when they leave a church.
These are all acceptable and plausible statements:
‘I did not like the music.”
‘I did not like the preaching.”
‘I did not like the direction the church was going.”
‘I would rather watch football.”
‘I was offended by something the pastor said.”
The list could go on and on. And this would be nice because they are true. “I’m not getting fed” is a spiritual sounding cover up for anyone of those statements.
Can I tell you something though. The motivation of all of those statements, even “I’m not getting fed” are rooted in the same problem. Selfishness. Until I can get away from my own selfish desire to “be fed” on a Sunday morning, I will never be nourished.
Something truly amazing happens in a corporate gathering where people are worshipping together, and I know that I too am engaged in worshipping God and giving thanks to Jesus on the Cross, through the music, communion, even the sermon, I am built up and encouraged and I feel satisfied.
I’m not trying to get fed, I’m trying to find my satisfaction in God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The language of being fed, is not what Jesus had in mind when he said he was the bread of life. I think it was more about being truly satisfied not just fed. When Jesus said he was the Living Water, and whoever came to him would never thirst again, that’s what he was talking about. Satisfaction.
So I posit this, healthy churches are helping people to find their ultimate satisfaction in God. They break away from the temporary feeding mentality and point to God and finding satisfaction in him.
If we put our satisfaction in God then amazing things begin to happen. Selfishness has not foothold in our hearts. Materialism dies out. Consumerism fades. When our ultimate satisfaction is found in God alone then it’s not longer about me getting fed.
Satisfaction takes time. I do believe that the self-help / felt-needs style of preaching that is fairly common in churches is much more like a drive-thru spirituality.
“I’m hungry, I’m going to go get a burger off the dollar menu.”
“I have a problem in my marriage, I better go somewhere that’s talking about marriage for 3 weeks.”
“I have money struggles, I better go over to that church that has an 8 week campaign called Debt is Dumb.”
All of these things will help the immediate pain, but they don’t last. If we think we can fix a marriage in 3 weeks then we are lying to ourselves. If we think a campaign called debt is dumb is going to be the silver bullet that will transform the world, we are kidding ourselves. It’s the burger on the dollar menu. I will feel full for a while but then it will fade.
But if we are leading people to find their satisfaction in God, then debt problems change because consumerism can be broken. If we are leading people to satisfaction in God then we will see healthy marriages because selfishness is broken. When I am satisfied in God I no longer have to think about myself.
Teaching people to find satisfaction in God takes a lot longer than an eight week campaing. But a gourmet meal talks a lot loner to prepare than a .99 double stack from wendy’s and the satisfaction lasts a lot longer.
So what’s keeping us from teaching our people to find their satisfaction in God? What’s keeping you from finding your satisfaction in God?