Spiritual maturity should be the goal of every Christian, but we need to be sure we are on the journey ourselves before we attempt to help the body of Christ become more mature. Some people will “check out” of church because they will not get what they had hoped or expected. They will think of themselves as “victims” and ultimately become critics of the church rather than servants of the body. They will become those who say the church is immature because it doesn’t provide what they think they need – or want.
I can’t tell you how many times someone has told me I needed to preach on a certain topic because of a particular situation or fascination in their lives. In their minds, the church isn’t feeding them, so they insist on going somewhere they can be fed. After looking around at other churches for awhile, they conclude that no one is being fed in church, so they leave it altogether.
When talking with this type of people, I explain to them that they are not the only ones in the church, and that others are not dealing with the same issues. I also explain the everything does not need to fit into one spiritual dinner once a week. I explain that everyone is at a different stages of spiritual growth and dealing with different things, and that they have a responsibility to learn to feed themselves. They can do studies on particular issues, reading great books on subjects that affect them. They can download sermons from other pastors and listen to them daily. They need to learn to take responsibility for being in relationships where those who are more mature can help feed them.
Often we want to eat a big spiritual meal only once a week, because that is all we want to make time for. But eating one big meal a week to sustain you is not possible physically, and it’s not possible spiritually either. Yes, the pastor is responsible to help feed all the people, but that happens not only in Sunday sermons but in relationships built in small groups.
Every person is responsible to feed themselves every day if they are to get the spiritual nourishment they need. If we continue to feed ourselves spiritually just once a week we will be starving – and like physical starvation, it will lead to weakness, sickness, and eventually death.
Written by Jim Putman
This was originally posted on Jim Putman’s blog here. Used with permission.