Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Fellowship Church's Daniel Fast

On January 7th Ed Young, pastor of Fellowship Church in Grapevine, TX joined his congregation in a 21 day Daniel fast. The Daniel fast comes from Daniel 1:8-14 where Daniel chose to not defile himself with royal food, but instead went on a fast that included eating only fruits and vegetables.

I heard about this fast from my wife through a friend of hers. It is significant because Fellowship Church is a large church and I haven’t really heard of a church like this ever challenging its membership to fast together (though I’m sure it’s happened before). You can read testimonials of how God has worked through the fast here and link here for other information about it.

I haven’t fasted an abundance of times, but appreciate the sacrifice and Ed’s heart for people to “hunger for God” over the 21 days of their fast. The church is expecting amazing “God sized” things to happen as they deny themselves and consequently refocus their affections on God. It’s an inspirational quest.

As I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about church leadership lately, this fast has been an example to me that people want to take risks and live dangerously for the Lord. We simply need to challenge them in their faith and give them a unified vision for the adventure. I wonder if in our tendency to make people comfortable, we forget that everyone in their heart of hearts wants to be part of something far greater than themselves… after all, isn’t that what we were created for?


First Theology said...

Scooter- I’m all for fasting in an attempt to "voluntarily abstain from food for spiritual purposes" to quote Don Whitney. However, when I read about their Daniel fast on the links you provided I wasn't exactly sure what the purpose was... maybe I totally missed that and it was there? Were they looking for guidance on something corporately, had something happened they were evaluating, was if for their general/overall spiritual focus & well-being. I just wasn't sure... (and I'm a bit skeptical of Fellowship Church as slightly gimmicky from past experience when I lived in Dallas - that might be completely unfair and simply my own bias tho).

In reading the links it seemed for many people to be a health-thing given the recipes they mention and stuff (BTW - When I hear people talking about fasts in terms of weight loss programs or healthy lifestyle habits I think they've completely missed the point... it's not about getting something, skinnier, but losing something and replacing that something with a godward focus. In our health-conscious society I wonder how often health benefits are the motivating factor and the godward focus is neglected?)

I don't want to simply rain on their parade - truth told I always feel a bit insecure when I hear about fasts since it's something I do so infrequently - I just didn't get why this fast is occurring... what's the goal/purpose?

First Theology said...

Maybe I should revise slightly what I said. I think I see a bit of the church's intent & purpose from the "FOCUS" section on the Ed Young link, but when I read the testimonials link I get more of the "good health benefits" vibe from lots of folks as motivation and end-goal.

scooterpastor said...

Josh- definitely a good word. I debated whether or not to go into the spiritual significance of fasting with this post. I agree that the focus on health benefits is not an appropriate application of the practice.

Quite honestly, my frame of mind with this was in regard to leadership in the church and the idea that we need to call our people to sacrifice. We often discuss the lack of willingness of people to serve and take risks. I think one major reason people don't sacrifice is because they aren't compelled by a greater mission, not because they are unwilling. Does this make sense?

First Theology said...

Scooter- That totally makes sense. I actually realized my post sidetracked your intent and took the conversation a different direction. I whole-heartedly agree with you about the excellent example of corporate unity and call to sacrifice - nice to see that led top-down. I think we could definitely learn from this - I just was a bit bummed many folks "take away" was "good health." Sorry if I intimated you didn't "get" the physical denial representating our spiritual hunger for God and the replacement of physical sustenance with godward focus as a key part of the equation... however it does seem like some of their congregants missed that aspect of this one.