This may sound a bit awkward, but one of the great loves in my life is pizza. As a middle schooler I could routinely consume entire large pizzas in one sitting along with a beverage and room for dessert.
Also, I’m pretty sure someone never got the green light with this business idea:
Anyway, pizza is my food Achille’s heel. The dough. The sauce. The more meat the better. I even eat cheese on pizza which confounds everyone who closely knows me. You see, I hate cheese. I abhor it. On every level. Every type of cheese is detestable to me save one…mozzarella. Even then it MUST be on a pizza for me to consume it. If I see some mozzarella off by itself, like at the mall or at the movies and it comes up to me I’m all like “Get off me, Mozzarella. I ain’t all about you.” But when it’s on pizza…mmmm. We’re homeboys. We roll together. Mozzarella’s got my back. We play ball. We jam together. We’re tight.
How pizza made it’s way into youth ministry culture I’ll never know. Maybe it’s because pizza attracts young people like Lebron James attracts TV cameras…and entire networks. (I’m lookin’ at you, ESPN). Maybe it’s because it’s a cheap and filling way to feed high metabolism laden young folk. Remember this phrase when you were young…”Don’t forget to bring pizza money!” Whether it was a church or school event, pizza is where the party is and it’s what attracted youth.
Or at least it used to be…
A recent USA Today article discussed the fact that kids are not even coming for the pizza anymore. The number of youth attending summer camps fell 22% in 2009, which was a telling sign of youth involvement in churches across the board. When all the carbs have burned off many churches have found that, SURPRISE, the pizza wasn’t gratifying enough. It takes more than dough and pepperoni to reach students and have them connect with each other. That’s why the “pizza fellowship” is not true fellowship. Yes we can get together and eat but it’s what happens as we eat and spend time together that matters.
The question is “Are we guilty of being genuinely concerned about our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ?” We must be willing and ready to cling to our spiritual family, uplift them, accept them and love them. Holding each other accountable and encouraging each other. This is true fellowship.
“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household”. Ephesians 2:19
If we are members of God’s household let’s treat each other like they are members of that same fold. We can’t accept just the pizza level. Take it further. Take the next step. Let’s really get to know each other. Our struggles, our passions, our real selves. Remember we are the body of Christ. We should be united! We should be concerned with each other on a level deeper than “How’s it goin’?”
It seems as if the most we know about each other is whether we like pepperoni or sausage. The pizza level.