Empty Calorie Church

This is a blog post about church and my faith. If that’s not your thing, feel free to ignore it. 

My weight has fluctuated all of my life. I just never really ate like I was supposed to. Even worse… my mother was a dietitian (she’s retired now). She fed us correctly growing up. I just didn’t stick with it and it is nobody’s fault but my own. 

I would eat way too much but it wasn’t solely the amounts. It was what I was eating. Although the food was high in calories and fat it wasn’t giving my body the nutrition it needed. Our bodies are designed to have basic nutritional needs filled. The food I was eating filled me up but afterwards my body still told me I was hungry because the food I was eating wasn’t giving me the proper nutrition. The food was exactly what my emotions and cravings wanted so the places serving it didn’t care that it was complete garbage for my body. One place (whose name I won’t mention) actually serves a single entree that has 2800 calories in it. ONE serving. If you didn’t know it, that’s way more calories than your body needs for one entire day. It provides next to no nutritional value for your body, but it tastes good and it sells, which is what that industry cares about. 

So I began studying what my body really needed to maintain good health. I’ve been working on feeding my body what it needs and not what my cravings and emotions (which are 99% wrong) want. 

I’m still very much on that journey to health but I am making progress. 

It really struck me though that there was a correlation between food and church life. With over thirty years of service in full time ministry I’ve noticed a few things. 

People come to church for the same reason they eat. They go eat to be nourished physically. They go to church to be nourished spiritually. 

But many churches are just like those fast food restaurants. They serve with flair and speed and convenience. Their advertising and marketing are unparalleled. People are showing up by the droves. They leave with a high euphoria and a great fix but, just like eating the fast food places, a short time later they’re hungry again. 

They’ve received empty calories. A non nutritious serving of platitudes and cliches and rituals. While places build their empires and measure success on buildings, bodies, and bucks, the congregants are left with that empty feeling inside. Why? Because they’re not truly being fed. 

It seems we’re forgetting the importance of the basics: Salvation. Discipleship. The Word of God. Worship. They’ve been traded for positive affirmations, good feelings, and entertainment. It also includes a generous portion of validation of everyone’s actions, regardless of how it disagrees with the Bible and entertainment. 

We’ve spent so much time changing the appearance that we’ve ignored the substance. 

As the Church of Jesus Christ, we have to return to these basics. 

1. Worshiping the Lord in Spirit and Truth (John 4:23-24)
2. Salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9, John 14:6)

3. Making disciples intentionally (Matthew 28:19-20) remembering that this is a process that cannot be measured by numbers but by a lifestyle. 

4. Restoring those who have fallen with grace (Galatians 6:1)

5. Being REAL. We’re imperfect people on a faith journey with the Lord. (I Timothy 1:15)
6. Being accepting of those who are in a different place than we are without compromising the truth of God’s word (Romans 14:1)

7. Being known for loving people and each other more than we are known for what we’re against. (John 13:35)

Tired of going in empty and feeling empty afterwards? Let’s stop being fast food, empty calorie churches and return to some substance. 

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