“I’m Not Being Fed”

Sometimes I hear a Christian say, “I left that church because I wasn’t being fed.”  That’s always sad, assuming it’s true.  It’s sad that their pastor wasn’t preaching winsome, Bible-centered messages (assuming he wasn’t).  But it’s also sad because why did that person think it was only the preacher’s job to feed them?

Mark Batterson put it this way in his book Primal,

“My kids learned to feed themselves when they were toddlers.  If you’re not being fed, that’s your fault.  I’m afraid we’ve unintentionally fostered a subtle form of spiritual codependency in our churches.  It is easy to let others take responsibility for what should be our responsibility.  So we let our pastors study the Bible for us.  Here’s a news flash: the Bible was unchained from the pulpit nearly 500 years ago during an era of history called the Middle Ages (75).

If you are relying on a pastor to be fed, I feel bad for you.  Listening to a message is secondhand information.  It’s not replacement for firsthand knowledge.  I’d rather have people hear one word from God than a 1000 from my sermons.  And that happens when you read, study and meditate the Bible.

7 thoughts on ““I’m Not Being Fed”

  1. At the same time, preaching is in a pretty sad state, so I guess you would have to press further.

    IF they meant their ears weren’t being tickled, or they were lazy themselves, then they are in sin.

    If they mean their pastor doesn’t preach the text, doctrine, or application, that is something different.

    • I’m sure there are tons of bad preaching out there but typically I hear this from people who move from church to church looking for the latest fad or the next Swindoll. The best example I can remember was in St. Louis where I was the associate and this woman said she was moving on to the megachurch down the street becausethe pastor there was a “real New Testament scholar.” “I want to sit at his feet and learn.” My thought was, “You only come here once a month…you haven’t tried sitting at our feet and learning…and by the way, you haven’t served in one area inside or outside the church so you need to quit getting fat on the Word of God and become a conduit of God’s love to others.” I am not talking about people who have a real theological issue. But you have to admit that the average person in the pew does not know how to feed themselves from God’s word.

  2. I completely agree: especially in the town of the Reformed super-giants where I live (and two Baptist mega churches).

    On an unrelated note, have you read Fred Craddock’s books on preaching? He’s one of your fellow DofC pastors, and I love his stuff on preaching –though I don’t love his sermons as much as his theory behind them.


    • What I am about to say is anathema in the DOC…but I have not read his books. They get high ratings and I’ve heard him preach many times. You know more about his theory than I do. He tells great stories. Many a DOC pastor has tried to emulate him with little success except to sound like Reader’s Digest.

  3. Like I said, he’s not a good practitioner, but the books are really good.

    And this is a person who disagrees with him greatly theologically!

  4. One of the things I’ve noticed about preaching is that it depends as much on the congregation as on the preacher. I have preached the same sermon in different congregations to different results. This hymn speaks to that phenomenon: “Brethren, we have met to worship,And adore the Lord our God; Will you pray with all your power, While we try to preach the word?” A congregation that will not pray for its pastor may very well not get a word from the Lord.

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