I thought I’d share a few thoughts on the battle cry of my least favorite people, the church hoppers, shoppers, floppers, and stoppers … “I’m not getting fed.”
We’ve heard that quite a bit over ten years of Forefront, and I’ve gone through kind of an evolution of my thoughts on this topic.
For a long time I blamed myself and felt guilty about not being “deep enough” and thought maybe it was because I only attended seminary for nine months and can’t read Hebrew or Greek. (One ironic thing, though, is that I would sometimes “use” (i.e. steal heavily from) other people’s sermons, and often it would be guys considered “deep” preachers, or it would be a series from a church’s mid-week or “deeper” service, and people would still say it wasn’t deep enough.)
Then I started to blame the Forefront context. When you’re trying to reach people who are far from God it’s obvious. So, for instance, on a Sunday morning we’ll have some goofy videos (mostly for people who aren’t Christians) and we’ll carefully explain communion (mostly for people who aren’t Christians) and we have a rockin’ style of worship music (mostly to connect with people who aren’t Christians) and then we have a sermon. And even if the sermon is “deep” and really good for Christians, I think some Christians simply cannot see past the context it falls within. They realize that several other aspects of the service were not primarily intended for them, and that this church is passionate about non-Christians, and so it’s impossible for them to believe the sermon IS for them, even if it is. They’re wrong, but I understand it – it’s difficult to take anything seriously when it’s preceded by a dancing gorilla.
But as I talked to other pastors I realized almost everyone hears this complaint. Even preachers who aren’t as shallow and uneducated as me, and even churches that don’t feature iPod Suppository commercials before the message. So I used to totally think it was I was to blame, or my church was to blame, and to some extent I still believe that’s partially true, but not as much as I did.
This caused me to take a closer look at the types of people who complain that they’re not getting fed, and increasingly I believe the problem lies in them. In the next few posts, I’ll explain why. Until then, leave big tips for your waitresses.
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