This week I wrote a post over at BigBible about Community.  As I was trying to think of a suitable image to include, I drifted through the book of Ruth (we’re going through a book of the Bible each month on the site, and Ruth is August!) considering what might fit the bill.  And all I could really come up with was crops.  So that’s what I went for.

It was only when I came to writing the caption that I began to consider things in a bit more depth.  Here’s what I wrote under the picture of barley:

Elimelek’s reason for leaving the community was to seek nourishment; Ruth’s means of re-entry was seeking nourishment

And that really got me thinking.  I’m a big fan of hospitality.  In fact, there’s a post about it in the pipeline 😉  But it made me think about our church communities and whether we offer people the nourishment they need.  Now, I’m slipping here between physical and spiritual nourishment, but I think that the two can go hand in hand sometimes.  Do our churches provide people with the nourishment they need to stay.  And do we offer to outsiders the nourishment they need to join?  I think there’s a lot of spiritual hunger around, and I wonder if we’re particularly good at addressing it.

So, a couple of questions for you:

Is there anything your church does particularly well in terms of offering hospitality and nourishment (physical or spiritual)?  (any models your church uses – feel free to send links!)

Is there anything in particular you think your church could do to get better in this area?

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One Response to Nourishment.

  1. Jessica says:

    When asked this question, it makes me think about a point made in a counseling class that I took. We were discussing the DNA of the church and how so often churches focus on the program rather than the person. So often people put all their energy into getting all the details of church right and they completely miss the point of church. Church is meant to be fellowship of the believers and worship of our God, and yet a lot of people leave church without truly connecting to God or to other believers. When the “program” is emphasized people don’t feel valued if they have nothing to offer the church. Often people are unconsciously measured by if they lead worship or help in sunday school or whatever it is. The problem with this “program” mentality is that ultimately the number of people at church, or the quality of the songs, or any of those other details don’t really matter if our heart is not in the right place. So often people wear a mask of perfection at church and they act as if everything is going fine, when really they are dying inside. People desperately long to feel listened to, and to feel valued as a person. We are not meant to live alone, but rather were created for relationship with God and with people. The church is supposed to be characterized by love, and yet that is not often what people find at church. This change can only take place when people are willing to let their guards down and be real with people. Rather than judging people for their failures, people need to begin to look at others as broken people in need of Christ’s healing. If this happened and people were intentional about reaching out and encouraging others, the church could offer this nourishment.

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