Right now we are in the middle of a series at Trinity called, “Be Church” (http://www.tcc-online.org/media.php), talking about what it looks like to be live into the identity of being the body of Christ together. Last week I shared some sad statistics during the message that revealed many individuals who leave churches in America cite items of personal preference (style of music, time of services, styles of leadership) as their primary reason for their departure. One of the most common reasons cited in this study was, “I am not being fed.” That statement has continued to rattle around my head this week, so I offer my humble thoughts on this challenge. I do not offer this as an accusation, or exhortation just my random thoughts as I process what it means to be church.
I played two sports for part of high school, and when you pair that with being in the first lunch period (10:25-10:50), I was always hungry. I would come home from practice, eat a snack (the size of a small meal for most people), and then would be hungry again by dinner time. A constant refrain my Mom heard from me was, “I am hungry.” I remember well the common answer my Mom would send my way, “You are a big boy, there is a kitchen full of food, go ahead and get something to eat.” My parents filled the kitchen with lots of good nutritious food, they did their job, and I was more than capable of getting whatever I needed to fulfill my nutritional needs all by myself. It would have been an unrealistic expectation for my Mom to walk me by the hand to the kitchen, prepare the food, and place it into my mouth as she would have for an infant.
I have a deep conviction that has been shaped by the Ridder Leadership Initiative (www.westernsem.edu/journey/ridder/), that at the end of the day I can only control myself, I need to be honest about my responsibility for my actions, and their impact on others as well as my Spiritual growth. I believe the same is true when it comes to the statement, “I am not being fed.” I believe the church has a responsibility to provide a Spiritual pantry full of a variety of means and methods for individuals to be fed, challenged, and become more like Jesus Christ. The church can then help individuals to find the right fit, the right opportunity, the right Spiritual food to meet their need. I also believe that once that has been done, as mature adults, each of us has a responsibility to engage. To pursue the opportunities, to seek out whatever is needed for Spiritual growth and increased maturity. As you reflect on your own Spiritual journey, what do you believe is needed for your Spiritual growth? What do you need to take responsibility for in your Spiritual journey so that you might grow more and more into the person God created you to be? These are not easy questions to answer, but I believe if you will honestly reflect on them, it can be a catalyst to transformation in your life.