I’ve been thinking this week about the trend in NortAm towards “Consumer Church”. McChurch. I know the popular terms are “emerging” and “missional” and “attractional” but I’m wondering if our culture hasn’t created this hybrid “consumer church” thing? As I think this through I’m torn between the reality of being a “cultural missionary” and going along with something that has more in common with an economic ideology than the story of Jesus.
My culture is clearly consumer driven. I’m living in a “value added” world that seeks, when it’s doing its’ best, to make me feel special, important and catered to on a very individual level. At some level that means the “language” of my culture (and please do imagine me making those quote signs in the air every time you see them around a word or phrase here as I absolutely can’t stand people who do that!) is in the consumer tongue. To hear the story of Jesus, for those deep-rooted in that culture, the “consumer filter” has to be acknowledged. (I’m subconsciously over doing the quote marks on purpose now I think…)
You know you’re deep-rooted in consumer culture if:
1) you get irritated if the McWorker forgets to say “thank you” after taking your order.
2) you complain that your coffee isn’t filled “all the way” to the rim.
3) you ever expected a discount from anyone for any reason.
4) you take exception with any of the above 3.
You know you’re deep-rooted in consumer church culture if:
1) you get turned on by words like “new”, “fresh”, “rhema” or “contemporary”.
2) your feelings about church are based on the last Sunday morning “service” you attended.
3) you can’t believe they aren’t using flavoured creamers yet at the free coffee centre.
4) you have ever expected to get your “money’s worth” from church.
O.K., those aren’t exactly scientific tests but you get the idea. Do we pander to this aspect of culture so that we can take down barriers to share the story of Jesus or does passing the story of Jesus through this filter taint it in such a way that it alters the story so much that it becomes “another” gospel? Do I create the impression that Jesus wants you to “have it your way” or that his primary thought towards me is that “you deserve a break today” by the environment we create in our gatherings?