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A Healthy Diet for the Church – Introduction

Posted by on Aug 1, 2011 in discipleship | 12 comments

A Healthy Diet for the Church – Introduction

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post called “A change in diet and exercise for me… and for the church.” I explained that the doctor had recently advised me to change my diet and exercise, or I might be headed toward an unhealthy life. I’ve learned more about what a healthy diet and exercise means for me. But what about for the church.

This week I’m going to explore the question, “What would be a healthy diet for the church?” Next week, in another series, I’m going to investigate the question, “What exercise helps the church remain (or become) healthy?”

So… what would be a healthy diet for the church?

Now, obviously, there are two different ways to think about the word “diet.” First, “diet” refers to the kind of food that an organism takes in. Second, “diet” refers to restricting the amount of food in order to lose weight.

In this series, I’m thinking more about the first use of the word “diet.” The kinds of food that an organism takes in affects the way that organism lives. In the case of humans, the type of food helps determine whether or not a person is healthy or not.

Now, taking this metaphor into the realm of the church (another organism), what kinds of “food” should the church take in order to be healthy?

As I’ve thought about this question over the last couple of weeks, I’ve realized that there are several approaches that I could take to try to answer this question. Each approach has benefits, and each approach can be misunderstood.

I’ve decided to look at the source of the “food” that the church takes in. I’ve divided the sources into three types: 1) directly from God, 2) from other believers, and 3) from others. Now, in reality, all “food” for the church comes from God. However, in some cases, God works more directly; but in other cases, God communicates in a more indirect manner.

I’m certain that some people will disagree with my categories (sources), and others will disagree with what type of “food” I would put in each category. That’s fine. This is a metaphor, and I’m interested in hearing your input. So, please share it with me.

As with a human diet, I believe the church’s diet should be “balanced.” I’ll explain more about what that means as I examine each “source” listed above. That may seem strange. It may seem (at first) that the church should desire only direct communication from God (the first source I listed above). However, I hope after reading through each article you will understand why I still suggest that a “balanced” diet is better.

So, for now, I simply ask these question: What “food” do you think the church should take in to remain healthy? How would you break the “food” into different types (categories/sources)? And, what do you think of my plan so far?

A Healthy Diet for the Church Series
1. Introduction
2. “Food” given directly by God
3. “Food” given by God through other believers
4. “Food” given by God through nonbelievers/society/culture
5. Conclusion


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 8-1-2011

    It seems that there are the divine ingredients (the Holy Scriptures and the Holy Spirit)

    The communal ingredients (encouragement to good works, mutual edification, hospitality and lives shared)

    The interpersonal ingredients (personal ministry between believers, the testimony of believers, loving one another as individuals as well as in groups)

  2. 8-1-2011


    A question for you: How would you differentiate between “directly from God” and “directly from the bible”? I know that’s a big question, but I’m curious as to what you think.

  3. 8-1-2011

    I am simple.

    The one thing that fits all 3 categories is LOVE.

    That is it.. a healthy church needs to love one another!


  4. 8-1-2011


    I thought about categorizing this series in that way. I decided to go a different way for several reasons. But, I will touch on all of those “ingredients”.


    Yes, I will definitely talk about Scripture.


    Is “love” part of the church’s diet or part of the church’s exercise?


  5. 8-1-2011

    Perhaps another ingredient that we often neglect, namely weakness, suffering, persecution?

  6. 8-1-2011

    I love this and I think Love might be both “diet” and “exercise”. We take in God’s love and then we extend God’s love. In my perspective it’s both! Great post Alan (and great idea), looking forward to more! 🙂

  7. 8-1-2011

    Alan – I am with Beth on this. I think LOVE is both diet and exercise.

  8. 8-1-2011


    Very good. God can definitely speak to us through those situations.

    Beth and Swanny,

    God certainly loves us… and we are certainly to respond by loving others. 🙂


  9. 8-1-2011


    Essentially, the Scriptures, prayer, fellowship, and sharing food/Lord’s Supper. Being faithful with these will add many other ingredients, heartache, struggle, persecution, etc. All nasty, but needed ingredients, which we would rather avoid.

    I’m reminded of a story about a man who one day decided to exercise thrift in the way he fed his donkey. Daily, he would add increasing amounts of sawdust to the donkey’s feed, taking away a commensurate amount of grain and hay. This happened gradually, so, the donkey did not notice any difference. The plan worked well until the donkey suddenly died.

    Wonder why I’m reminded?

  10. 8-2-2011

    Jesus in affect said, “eat me!” He is our food and we receive him from Holy Spirit and from each other. He said, “my food is to do the will of the one who sent me.” Maybe that is our food too, to do his will. But then what IS his will and how the heck do we “eat” Jesus? I think that is where we (and I) get kinda confused/mixed up…. Thoughts?

  11. 8-2-2011

    Somebody once gave me a book titled, “What Would Jesus Eat?” about the biblical diet. Of course, ancient middle-eastern diets exactly 2000 years ago were biblical.

  12. 8-2-2011

    Aussie John,

    Good story. I think, for the church, the problem may be “balance” more than anything else. Most attempt to “feed” from one source only.


    I think it depends on what you mean by “his will.” Do you mean his will for all his children (i.e., all Christians in general) or do you mean his will for you in particular?


    I like Mediterranean type diets… 🙂