A View from the Pew: Breakfast of Champions


Breakfast has been labeled by nutritionists and marketers alike as the “most important meal of the day,” but eating breakfast at church can be tricky.

Not only do you have to avoid the powdered doughnuts if you’re wearing dark colors, but avoiding a carbohydrate overload can be next to impossible.

Whether your church offers breakfast foods on a weekly basis or goes all out once or twice a year, here are five takeaways from eating breakfast at church:

1. Opportunity to teach about choices. Like a lot of middle-aged people who try to maintain a healthy lifestyle, I think about what I eat and try to teach my children about the consequences of their food choices. That said, I think it’s okay if you’re bringing breakfast for the children or youth to mix in a pastry or two. I’m not condemning doughnuts if you also provide fresh fruit or yogurt. Teach them how to make healthy choices. For the younger ones, you can even stipulate that for every doughnut they take, they must have a serving of fruit or eggs.

2. Health vs. Convenience. How many times has this happened to you: You’re on your way to church and remember from a providential prompting that it’s your turn to bring breakfast? You swing into the drive-through of the closest doughnut shop, order up a couple dozen and barely make it on time but still satisfy your obligation. This is okay occasionally, but it’s not helpful for this to be the rule rather than the exception. All of us should plan ahead, realizing that our failure to provide a healthy breakfast is ultimately shortchanging those we are feeding.

3. Judge not lest ye be judged. In our society we have a rampant sense of entitlement. Breakfast at church used to be for special occasions or for convenience to help people get to Sunday school on time. Now, we feel it’s supposed to be there, and it’s supposed to be good. If someone pulls the ol’ drive-through trick referenced above, we feel slighted and don’t hide our dismay. Or, heaven forbid, if someone forgets it’s their turn and there’s no breakfast at all, they are in danger of our “righteous” indignation. Don’t judge others for bringing Krispy Kreme and they won’t judge you when you have to. Don’t look down your nose when someone takes a cheese Danish, and they won’t glance at your waistline when you go back for seconds. Jesus was pretty clear about this in Matthew 7:1-2: “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.”

4. Caffeine overdose. I mention this because it’s my particular weakness. About 350 days a year, I tend to get less sleep than my body requires. So when I hit the door of the church, I set about making the coffee for my Sunday school class. It usually serves me well to stay alert for about an hour, but the crash inevitably hits during the sermon. And then dehydration sets in about noon. Everything in moderation on Sunday morning, including coffee, and you’ll have a more pleasant worship experience.

5. Churches that eat together, stay together. By all means, have church-wide breakfasts. If your Bible study groups are staying in their age groups to eat breakfast each week, you’ll find a real benefit by getting everybody together for breakfast every now and then. It’s a great alternative to lunches or banquets. Breakfast is easier to prepare for and sets you up for better attendance at Bible study. When my kids were younger, it was one of the traditions of our church they looked forward to most. Let the dishes soak during worship, and even cleanup is easier. Get a breakfast on the schedule, and your church will be better off for it.

Lance Wallace_for_webLance Wallace is a Baptist layperson and member of Parkway Baptist Church in Johns Creek, GA, does media relations and issues management at his day job, and blogs at newsouthessays.com.

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