Here is something you probably don’t know. In the United States, we live among a culture of consuming everything and anything our heart desires. (sarcasm 🙂 )
Commercials, retail stores, credit card companies, banks, movies, TV, clothes, cars, websites, restaurants, and on and on… Every one of these things are carefully tailored to fit your needs, wants, and ultimate desires. Everything is a “personal” preference.
I keep thinking about individualism and how a “personal” relationship with Christ is rammed down our throats. I have a bad feeling that our consumerist culture ties into how the institutional church ticks. If the church provides the exact Jesus that you can consume it makes your life so much easier and happier. Is that the “American Dream” .. the pursuit of happiness!
The model of many evangelical churches of today fits into the consumerist thinking around the long list above. There is no difference between the marketing of a restaurant and a marketing of a modern day evangelical church. Each one of these items, including church, exist to emphasize a motto that would probably sound something along the lines of “We are here to serve you and meet your every whim and desire. Let us take care of you.” Sounds good when you say it.. I am serving… yeah serving yourselves.
And usually that’s not even enough. The car we own gets old, and we want a new one. The house gets stale, so we buy a new one (or remodel). Our clothes are no longer in fashion, so we update them. We get tired of eating at the same restaurant, so we go to another one. I can keep going, but you get the drift. Works the same in church. If they do not have the right music, if the pastor sucks, child care is a painful process, not enough bible studies, you take off to find one that fits you and you alone… piss on everyone else.
This is how we have been brainwashed to think. All backed up by the crap that has been shoved in front of us since birth.. you are so worth it, you deserve everything, how and when you want it… and pronto! God forbid if your self-esteem is trampled on.
Well the modern church system plays the same fiddle. These institutions have become a place to provide as comfortable an experience as humanly possible, using every means at their disposal to attract people in (and then keep people in). So they tailor what they do around a person’s wants and desires. It is a huge social club, and it only costs 10% of your salary to join.
Well I guess that is the way marketing works, right?
The problem is at the end of the day, the only thing that Jesus is counting is disciples (His Followers, His Bride). That’s it. He doesn’t seem to care too much about attendance, budgets, or buildings. He doesn’t care that you are pursuing happiness.
It is all about Christ. That is it. Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.
And, by nature, His Bride, His Followers, His Disciples are producers, they are not consumers. Yet most of our churches are built around feeding the consumerist within, and not the Spirit within.
Kinda opposite to what the gospel is all about, huh?