Skill Builders

Home > Skill Builders

What "I'm Not Being Fed" Really Means

You're convinced that your sermons provide a nourishing spiritual meal. How could anyone claim otherwise?

I have a confession to make. I am fed up with hearing people say, "I'm not being fed." While I do not hear it often, the comment surfaces just enough about my preaching and the preaching of others to make me want to scream. Once my emotions settle down, though, I try to discern what people are really saying. In my experience, the complaint "I'm not being fed" is usually a code phrase for some other frustration that lurks below the surface.

This realization hit me a few years ago after observing a strange turn of events. First, a young couple left the church I served for another because (drumroll here) they were "not being fed." I puzzled over this because I felt like I was in a season where my preaching really was connecting Scripture well to the lives of our people. I went through a checklist of possible problems. Had I lost my passion? No. Was I short-changing my sermon preparation? No. Had I slipped into merely talking to people about the Bible rather than talking to people about themselves ...

skill builder Preview

This skill builder is available to subscribers only.

To continue reading:

Rating & Reviews

Average User Rating:

Displaying 1–5 of 12 comments

Gregg Gahan

December 09, 2011  2:58pm

Very well-written and informative article. It's especially hard to open yourself up every week and get excited about what God has shown you when downers make project their own problems onto you like this--something that happens far too often in some churches.

Report Abuse

Michael Tatman

April 26, 2010  3:04pm

I agree with Dave about welcoming feedback.. positive or negative.

Jeremy Spencer

April 07, 2010  10:55am

The "I'm not being fed" comment turns on an interesting metaphor: we're sheep, and it's the pastor's job to feed us. But is it? And if it is, to what extent? The complaint's nothing new, though, and we who preach can take a little comfort from Moses, who faced the same complaints (Exodus 16:3 and Numbers 11:4-5). Sometimes the statement "I'm not being fed" expresses a very real concern, but sometimes it also expresses a subtle or not-so-subtle leadership challenge, and Pastor Mathewson's right: a statement like that stings like a nettle when it is uttered.

Mark Johnson

April 06, 2010  1:46pm

There are no words I DESPISE more than hearing someone say, "I'm not being fed." Particularly when the person making the statement is not taking advantage of the ample opportunitieswe are providing for them to get fed. I think Paster Mathewson is dead on when he says that those words are merely the cover for other things that are going on. Preacher's egos tend to be a little fragile at times and it's hard not to take it personally when we hear those dreaded words. I agree wholeheartedly with Chris' comments about his 17-year old. There's the refrigerator!

Gary Sinclair

April 06, 2010  8:20am

Well said. I would add that some mature believers need to also understand that it's not ultimately our jobs to feed them. We're but a small part of their spiritual nutrition! The responsibility for eating and growing is theirs.

Please to rate and review this skill builder. Or subscribe now for full access.

Related articles

The Landmark Sermon

A clear word at the right time can keep the church from pulling apart

The Kiss

What one show of affection taught me about preaching

Preacher as Advocate

What it means to identify with your hearers

More articles

Print this pageShopping CartHelpMy Account