The post below is extremely eloquent and it hits right at the middle of the issue of “Consumerism” inside the Church. As I have said in one of the ebooks I have written, when our focus is on Church beautification or attracting people to come to church, then we are out of focus. The Bible is very clear that we need to go out. We need to become “go and make” disciples rather than “sit and wait”. I guess most Christians who were born in 1950’s are more like “sit and wait” people of the Church.

The big “ME” is always a problem in discipleship. It is very hard to disciple people especially when people whom you are discipling has a big love on “ME”. As long as we will focus on ourselves, it will always hard for us to serve the Lord. The cost of being a disciple is focuses on the Lord and the Lord alone. If we start seeing ourselves before seeing what God is telling us, then we are out of focus. Concerning Church hoppers.

It’s kind of funny because this is very true here in my city, Ormoc City. Many Christians love it so much to transfer from one church to another from time to time. The pattern is after staying for 1-4 years, they will start again to look for another Church. The result, stagnant growth and futile minds. Many of them have been very good in criticizing churches and pastors where they have been. Instead of loving their leaders, their mindset is; “that depends if they are lovable”. But when it comes to practical life, and ministerial involvement, most of them always have alibis and does not participate at all. Well, I guess we need to extend our love all the more. Just a personal opinion based on the article below.

written by Anonymous on 27 Mar.

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This is a good blog on missional theology. Add it to your daily read list…

Consumerism is the belief by many Christians that the church exists to serve them.

Too many Christians in America believe that the church exists for its members rather than for mission. “We try to woo people to come and keep coming. What we end up with is an audience of consumers shopping for the best ‘services.’ We cater to this sort of thinking by trying to compete with other churches with a better show.”[1]

Consumerism is the biggest obstacle to missional activity!

Milfred Minatrea describes the consumer mentality of many Christians. “Just as they count on Wal-Mart meeting their material needs, they expect their churches to provide religious goods and services.”[2] John MacArthur adds this insight, “It is easy for Christians to get to the point where they expect things to be done for them. They show up for church only if they think they will get something out of it.”[3]

There is a whole generation of church shoppers and hoppers who decide where to worship based on getting their needs met. Mark Atteberry describes it like this:

Church A might have an awesome worship band, while Church B has a preacher you love to listen to. But then one of your buddies who attends Church C ask you to play on their softball team. Is this a problem? Of course not! You just do what any good consumer would do. You hop back and forth between the three churches.[4]

One evidence of consumerism is the “Pareto Principle.” Eighty percent of the people allow the remaining twenty percent to do eighty percent of the ministry. There are a lot of spectators watching the show.

In Stop Dating the Church!, Josh Harris identifies a “me-centered” attitude at the core of many church attenders. He identifies the driving question to be: “What can church do for me?” and suggests that they “treat church with a consumer mentality – looking for the best product for the price of our Sunday morning. As a result, we’re fickle and not invested for the long-term, like a lover with a wandering eye, always on the hunt for something better.” [5] This expectation that “church is for me” and “I’ll just go to the church that serves me best” is fostered by low expectations of commitment, and programs that cater to needs. “Consumer or maintenance-minded churches tend to design most of their events for members.”[6]

This consumer mindset is typical of many of the larger churches in America. David Garrison notes, “Not all is healthy in these large mega-churches that can typically only account for one-third of their members on any given Sunday. For too many, church membership has become a spectator sport rather than a vital part of daily life.”[7]

Thom Rainer’s research reveals, “For most of the generations born before 1950, church is a place where you serve, sacrifice, and give. For most of the generations born after 1950, the question is not ‘What can I do to serve the church?’ but ‘What has the church done for me lately?’”[8]

Since we live in such a consumer-driven culture, the church must face the reality that many people who visit their churches have a consumer-mindset. However, this doesn’t mean that they need to accommodate theses desires and wishes just to get people to come (beware of another danger: attractionalism).

So many pastors and their families are facing burn-out because they try to satisfy the wishes and expectations of consumer Christians. It is unhealthy for the church leaders to allow this to continue, and it is unhealthy for those who attend to consume.

Dan Kimball understands that this needs to change. “There is no way a missional church that understands her place in God’s story can produce consumer Christians. It would go against its very nature.” He urges churches to resist “the tendency to become consumer-oriented by keeping the mission at the forefront of all we do.”[9]

Here’s what consumer Christians and consumer churches fail to understand:
Your life is much bigger than a good job, an understanding spouse, and non-delinquent kids. It is bigger than beautiful gardens, nice vacations, and fashionable clothes. In reality, you are part of something immense, something that began before you were born and will continue after you die. God is rescuing fallen humanity, transporting them into his kingdom, and progressively shaping them into his likeness – and he wants you to be a part of it.[10]

When churches stop catering to consumers and Christians stop behaving like consumers, then the Kingdom will begin to advance in local communities.

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