Fancy losing weight? Forget the gym and go to church instead

Well, I have to say that I think I have now heard it all: a church which has started a weight-loss campaign by means of putting in place accountability partners through small groups.  Please somebody tell me this is the plot of the latest Hollywood Comedy and not a genuine enterprise taken on by one of the most influential and well-known leaders in today’s Western Church?  Though on a first read this is truly comical, as I dig deeper, my heart really aches and my spirit is grieved, truly grieved.  The reasons for my heartache on this occasion are just far too obvious so at the risk of being patronising, I ask you to please read this article and see for yourselves.

Would love to hear your thoughts and comments! Do you think these slimmer individuals may be the new wineskins Jesus spoke of?  Somehow I very much doubt it. This is in my opinion a mockery of the sanctification Christians are called to and of Christ’s redemptive power too.

I was disturbed by this article and the lengths Christian leaders go to to be contemporary, popular,  trendy and being seen to move with the times, or as some of the readers of the New York Times article have put it, to act “outside the box”.  Please somebody explain to me what weight loss has to do with Christ’s commission to his followers and disciples.  I thought the idea of accountability and fellowship were primarily for the sole purpose of building each other up towards sanctification, repentance, humility and ultimately the desire to become more Christ-like. and to inspire others to do the same.

This whole thing is yet another mockery of what The Church should be doing at this hour and rather than leading by example we are truly losing all credibility as God’s own people. As the powers of hell intensify in the world today, those wih suppossedly Godly authority and power to fight back are taking their eyes off the MAIN thing and letting their guard down.  Come to church to lose weight.  Someone out there must be cheering and having a good laugh and I don’t think it is God.

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/10/at-a-big-church-a-small-group-health-solution/

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6 thoughts on “Fancy losing weight? Forget the gym and go to church instead

  1. Wow! I think I am having a hard time stomaching (pun intended) that article. I seriously don’t think Daniel was on a plan to avoid weight gain.
    From my perspective the church is the pillar and support of the truth (I tim 3:14-15) and as such has the job and obligation to spread the truth about Jesus not weight loss.
    This is not to say that one can’t analogize it in so many ways. The weight of sin for example. shedding sin becomes shedding pounds.
    However, being able to rightly divide the word of truth is more than just seeing cute analogies, it is realizing when you have ceased to evangelize, ceased to be the place for truth and started to feed people’s desire for physical things. Jesus rebuked many for seeking him because they were fed not for the spiritual but for the physical…John 6.
    In a short, few sentences I may not be clear but I think you have a reason to ask the question that you did.

    • Dear Steven,

      Thank you very much for your comment and for visiting my site.

      I totally agree with you. I feel sick to the stomach when I think of the millions and the vasts amounts of time and effort that go into organising Leadership conferences which often result in some of the most visible Christian leaders coming up with stuff like this. As I said before, we are failing because the flesh is feeding on the flesh and not on the source of all knowledge and revelation.

      God bless you.

  2. Agree with you–it truly grieves my spirit to see the Church following the world in this. Perhaps more is going on with the program, but it sounds an awful lot like more rules and damnation for failing to keep those rules. Regardless, we are FAR too comfortable with making whitewashed tombs in the Church!

    • Dear Pastor Derk,

      You know as I was writing this post I felt strongly imprinted on my spirit the passage in the bible where Christ speaks of whitewashed tombs to the Pharisees and teachers of the law. I am glad you brought that up.

      Thank you for getting in touch and leaving a comment here. It enriches this site and specially me to have other people’s views and feedback.

      God bless you.

  3. I stumbled upon this blog post in my research on clergy health. I will be forthright and pray that I do not offend any of you that responded so negatively to the program Rick Warren initiated in his church. Promoting the general health of the body (read: followers of Christ) is not an unworthy cause and certainly falls within the mission of the church. It is rooted so deeply in scripture that I am surprised I would even have to reference it here considering some of you are pastors. A genuine reflection on the Greatest Commandment (Deut. 6:4-5; Mark 12:30) should suffice. Recall from your theological training that the Greek usage of the word “strength” most commonly means something be carried out through the physical body. The questions that must be asked then are: Can someone who is overweight or obese due to a lack of self-control (note I am not including genetic disorders) love God with all their strength? Can they experience the fullness of his/her relationship with Christ if their health is in decline to excess weight? Can excess body weight impede our ability to serve God and others? Is excess body weight a burden to our brothers/sisters in Christ and to the community in general?

    These are important questions that all believers should be asking themselves and each other and I am glad that Warren has addressed this issue in his church. I am not thrilled with who he partnered with and I pray that his motivations are pure, but I do feel it is an important step in the right direction. If you are not convinced of the dire need for the church to be more proactive in promoting good health (weight, diet, exercise, etc.), then do a quick pubmed or google search for obesity and obesity-related healthcare costs, then look up obesity among church attendees and clergy. I leave you with this and pray that you will not immediately reject the idea that we, as a church, must do more to minister to the physical needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ:

    “If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” – James 2:16

  4. Dear Ben,

    Thank you for your comment.

    The calling of the church of Jesus Christ has nothing to do with undertaking campaigns and slick programs to help people lose weight but all to do with drawing nearer to God and drawing others to Him in the process, all to do with surrendering ALL our weaknesses to Him and Him alone so that a renewal of Spirit and as a consequence of Body can take place. I am not a pastor or theologically trained in a seminary and neither do I wish to be if this is the kind of thing such authority can lead to, but I do know the bible and I do hear God speak to me through it and nowhere do I see the call to Christians to convert the Temple of God into a “Weight Watchers”, Alcoholic Anonymous” or such like. When we gather together is to worship Him and not to focus or draw attention on ourselves. If you are looking at your pastor to bring you deliverance from things like obesity, alcoholism, drug addiction and all the rest of it, you have completely misunderstood Christianity and the word of God, in my opinion. It is not the pastors who should be regarded as Saviours, Deliverers or Redeemers of our yokes, chains and strongholds but the Spirit of God alone.

    The physical needs I hear Jesus Christ asking me to take care of in others have nothing to do with weight loss but all to do with feeding the poor and putting a roof over their head. Obesity in some cases is a result of illness and/or an inherited condition but for a vast majority it is to do with gluttony and a desperate attempt to fill the gap that only communion with Christ can bring, in the same way that drugs and alcohol seem to fill that gap but never really do.

    To me coming up with this idea to help people lose weight is simply a way of keeping people dependant upon men’s latest ideas of how to overcome sin and addiction, it is dwelling even deeper into their need so that repeated church attendance is guaranteed and missing the key fact and pillar in Christianity: Jesus died and rose again, and he died to set US FREE. Come to HIM all you who are weary for His burden is light and his yoke easy!! Praise God! Anything else is idolatry.

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