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Church and chocolate milk

Posted on January 7, 2011 by Milo 3 Comments

In 1 Corinthians 3:1-2 Paul writes, “Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly-mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it.  Indeed, you are still not ready.”  When pastoring this young church Paul recognized that there were linear stages that he had to walk people through.  Being infants, milk was appropriate. When they got spiritually older they were to eat solid foods.  It’s a really good metaphor that helps us wrap our brains around the need to grow up spiritually.

Today, the dietary landscape of the church is looking pretty thin.  There is plenty of milk to drink, but not a lot of solid food.  The result is anemic Church with stunted growth.

It’s the church’s responsibility to provide resources and opportunities for people to satisfy their spiritual diet.  In response to this need many churches have opted to offer chocolate milk.  Like parents who want their kids to drink something that resembles “health,” many churches have opted to adapt to the needs of the immature instead of calling the immature to grow up.

Why do churches do this?  Having been a pastor and been in countless conversations about this, here are some quick observations:

  • It’s easier to sweeten something than to offer something different
  • The culture we live in wants fast and convenient.  Solid spiritual food doesn’t fit that mold. The fear is, if we offer something different, people will leave the church.
  • The church has forgotten how to serve solid food.  Our “kitchen” is absent of the tools to prepare and serve it and the pantry is bare of the necessary ingredients.
  • Leadership is suffering from “spiritual lightness.”  The duties of a pastor today are incredibly diverse.  Preparing a path for maturity and solid food is a daunting task.

These observations aren’t meant to condemn the church, but to challenge each of us to be agents of change.  Many have opted to leave the classical church as a protest to these sort of things. Absence doesn’t change things, it lets it decay further.  Others have opted to whine and complain about what they aren’t experiencing.  But when pushed to help make a difference they shrink back from involvement.  Both responses are unhelpful.  If you want to see things change, be the difference that helps make it happen.

3 comments

  • Jonathan M. Burg says:

    Milo,
    I thoroughly enjoyed this post. I think this has the potential to be a good book.

  • Jesse says:

    This is both a fascinating and troublesome subject. One that I could easily have with hours of in depth conversation. The reasoning is this spiritual milk or spiritual fast food can become a substitute for an intimate relationship with Jesus. Its not that our relationship with God is a continual high, its just I believe that almost every Christian has these moments of disconnect. The major disconnect I think is when we come to know the Lord or we have this incredible experience where we feel God move or stir and then we some how slump back into our seats. The fast food becomes a replacement for the disconnect, which can make me feel like I’m not an infant, despite the evidence proving otherwise.

    A few years ago the Lord gave me a clear picture of how I was consuming spiritual fast food, the illustration I had is what follows:

    When I grew up my Grandparents had horses and remembering a conversation that my Grand father had with me, that horse manure was used as pig food(A practice which is more than likely outdated), this fact disgusted me. However, my Grandfather told me that the horse manure was so rich of nutrients and so undigested that is was actually good as food for pigs. Fast forwarding to my present life, I may have been pouring over scripture but I was missing the pace of growth that is necessary for me to digest God’s food, it was just passing through me.

    So for a period of several months I spent all my devotional time in just the book of Romans. It’s no surprise that each time I visited and revisited these verses they revealed deeper and deeper truths. However, my true change was the amount of scripture I’d cover. I found myself spending more time chewing and chewing scripture and more of having a conversation with the Lord about these meals. It was at this point that I was reminded of an earlier time in the Word. Ezekiel 3:10 Then he added, “Son of man, let all my words sink deep into your own heart first. Listen to them carefully for yourself.”

    The significance for me was a change of pace that allowed me to hear the Lord’s voice more clearly. I believe that the Church needs authentic children being authentic in their relationships to our Savior. This brings me to several other points I’d love to share but as it looks I’ve already shared a short novel.

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