About seven years ago, I went to a youth ministry conference with a friend. While I was there, I purchased a book call An Unstoppable Force by Erwin McManus. When I read the book, it really changed the lens in which I view some of the questions I have about the church, leadership, and my role as a pastor. For the past six months, our staff at Avenue has been reading various books in order to help us rethink church- since that is our new United Methodist slogan (hopefully it will be more than that). Each staff person has recommended a book. As you may have guessed, An Unstoppable Force was my contribution.
For our staff meeting this week, we read the first 30 pages or so and set aside some time to discuss some of Erwin’s thoughts. There was one thought that really has stuck with me this week. McManus said that in some of our churches, the problem is not undernourished Christians- its that we have overfed Christians who do not exercise (practice) their faith. This really made me pause for reflection. He cites that about 60% of the US population is considered obese. While undernourishment is certainly a health problem, so is overnourishment. They both lead to sickness and even death. Our problem with obesity in America is often an issue of a lack of physical activity (and poor diet habits- we consume too much of some things like sugar and carbs and do not have a healthy balanced diet.)
In our churches and our world, there are certainly people who are starving for the Gospel. They are starving for an encounter with God. Yet our churches are also full of people who consume everything they can spiritually and fail to put their faith into action. They fail to exercise their faith. Whatever they consume in church, bible study, small group, etc. becomes spiritual fat rather then lean spiritual muscle that is useful for building up God’s Kingdom.
How are you exercising spiritually? Do you just show up to church on Sunday morning to consume and let it go to your “spiritual hips?” Or have you develped a plan that keeps your spiritually fit? Are you putting your faith into practice or just sitting on the sidelines?
God, help us to exercise our faith this week. To do more than just consume. Let us be an active part of Your body. Let us be Your hands and Feet to a world that is in need of You. Amen.