Through the years, I have encountered numerous people who have said that they needed to stop serving at the Church so that “they could be fed.” In the early days of my ministry, I would nod and smile as if this made perfect sense. After several years, I started asking a question in response, “Who do you think feeds me?”
Most of the time, I am greeted with a blank stare. I remind them that I rarely hear a sermon on Sunday morning because I am always preaching. I ask, “How do you think I keep growing in my faith?”
The usual response is anger and frustration. They tell me, “It’s my job.” They say they are busier than I am. They used to say to me that they had been serving longer than I have been alive. There was a long list of reasons why my spiritual growth does not count, and there is definitely no need for comparison. This reaction is because I called their bluff. They simply wanted to quit serving so they could spend more time on selfish pursuits. It had nothing to do with “needing to be fed” and was more about wanting to do something else.
I still pose the question to you, “How do preachers get fed spiritually?”
The first answer is that we learn to feed ourselves. One mark of maturity is the ability to take care of yourself. To read, study, and learn on your own. The second answer is to go out to eat. Go to places outside of Sunday morning that feeds your soul.
While you are reading this post, I am traveling about four hours to a conference so that I can spend time at a spiritual buffet. There will be powerful speakers, incredible stories, and personal connections that will fill me to the point where I feel I am going to explode. I will bring back stories, notes, and notebooks full of ideas. These two days will propel me through Christmas and into the new year.
Personally, I attend at least one conference every year as one of the ways I feed myself spiritually. There are similar opportunities for men, women, couples, youth leaders, children’s teachers, and even worship leaders. Maybe if you are feeling empty in an area of your life, you should consider going to a conference. I know I need it, and perhaps you do too.