Justin Hiebert

Catalyzing Change

The Jesus Buffet

Posted on 05 Nov 2013 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

We all know the importance of a good, healthy diet. Balancing our plate with the right amount of fruits and vegetables is key to making our bodies work the way we want them to. Too many carbs, proteins, or fats can throw off our diet and cause severe medical issues.

The rise of the American buffet restaurant is an unusual phenomenon. While we know we need to eat healthy, we grab a side salad and then proceed to gorge our bodies on five plates of fried, battered, caramelized, and buttered briskets, bread rolls, and banana splits. It’s one reason I try to avoid them at all cost: I can’t trust myself. I go in with good judgment and then see that I could top a brownie with a cookie, dunk it in sprinkles, smear it with ice cream and put it under a fondue fountain. With my weakness for sweets, I just can’t go there.

We’ve also done this with Jesus. We’ve taken the sweet portions that we want to keep and thrown out the rest. Instead of a balanced diet, we’ve gone for sugary substitutes. Instead of nourishing fruits and crisp, fresh veggies we’ve filled ourselves chocolate milkshakes.

Kurry Kabab Buffet Serving Line

(Photo credit: Bill.Roehl)

When we reduce the Gospel to ‘say this prayer’ instead of ‘model after this person’ we’re guilty of making Jesus’ life a buffet line.

When we want the riches and blessings of God without the carrying of the cross, we’re guilty of picking and choosing our favorite parts.

When we skip straight to resurrection without going through death, we distort what healthy spirituality looks like.


Let’s be honest, there are certain parts of theology that we all want to skip over. But a good balanced life of discipleship, like a good balanced diet, requires that we participate fully in all of it.

If we want to talk about how to create passionate followers of Jesus that grow in maturity, we need to present them with a full diet of healthy discipleship. The same God that says, “Worship me alone” is the same God that says, “If you hold a grudge, don’t bother worshipping me until you get that taken care of.”


How do you present a holistic model for discipleship? What ideas do you have? Chime in below.

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Justin Hiebert

Leadership Catalyst - Entrepreneur - Coach at JSHiebert Leadership Coaching
I am a Business and Life Coach in both non-profit and for profit settings. I coach leaders, executives, and pastors in areas of vision, clarity, and values. In relationship coaching I focus on healthy and sustainable relationships, and in leadership development roles I catalyze change for individuals and groups to thrive. I also consult churches and organizations on how to train new leaders and create a healthy culture. In addition to that, I am an Anabaptist pastor in the Denver metro area. I specialize on topics that include: missional theology, discipleship, culture and the church in today’s society. I am married to my wonderful wife Elise and we have three kids. I grew up and now work in the United States Mennonite Brethren Church (USMB) and love the people and history of the Mennonite Brethren faith. I am a graduate of Tabor College with a dual degree in Youth Ministry and Christian Leadership, a graduate of Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary with a Masters of Divinity, and a Doctoral Student and Bethel Seminary. I also teach college classes in areas of Bible, Communication, and Business.

Latest posts by Justin Hiebert (see all)

  • I’ve found that preaching sermons that give all the sweet stuff gets a LOT of praise from the congregation.. but sermons (like the one on “Rubbish”) get a good bit of silence and some, “Gotta think about that one…”

    People love their sugar coated Jesus… we’re addicted to him… time to go to the spiritual fat farm and detox, folks…

    • It’s a tough balance and is hard for me as someone who preaches weekly. But, just cause it’s hard doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile or beneficial….

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