Wasted Preaching and Fat Church Members

Should all the labor that has been expended on the churches during the past twenty years be again expended upon them, it would fail, as it has failed in the past, of making the members self-denying, cross-bearing followers of Christ. Many have been overfed with spiritual food, while in the world thousands are perishing for the bread of life. Church members must work; they must educate themselves, striving to reach the high standard set before them. This the Lord will help them to reach if they will co-operate with Him. If they keep their own souls in the love of the truth they will not hold the ministers back from presenting the truth in new fields. – {9T 140.2}

What a crazy passage.  Twenty years worth of inward-focused ministry for churches was a failure.  A truly self-denying religion must work for others outside of the immediate congregation.  We must have a missionary mindset.  All the energy spent on preaching, without setting up the audience for application, is wasted.

The outcome of spiritual overfeeding is fat church members.  Too much of a good thing leads to bad outcomes.  Church members experience heartburn with each other, spiritual apathy, and a decreasing ability to work effectively for the Master.

As always, a healthy lifestyle combines correct eating habits with exercise.  Right from at the beginning of the ministry effort.

This makes me wonder at the effectiveness of pastors who do not set up outreach opportunities or felt needs ministries for their members.  I also wonder about the effectiveness about youth ministries that do not provide outreach components and training opportunities.  We need to learn to work.

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