Consumerist “christians”

Posted: November 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

It took place a couple of years ago. I was attending a meeting of church leaders at the state convention conference center, and our focus was on a resurgence of obedience to the Great Commission. In a small break out session a man said, “I think that we need to get back to first century Christianity.” I couldn’t help commenting to the man sitting next to me, ‘I wonder if he really means that, or does he want to get back to about 3rd century Christianity.”

I suspect that the majority of church life in the U.S. does not resemble the church in the first century at all. I had the rare opportunity to worship somewhere other than the church where I serve yesterday. I actually worshipped at two very different type “churches”. One was a very large multi-campus worship with a very contemporary style. The other was a a moderately large very traditional mainline denominational church body.

Both rely on the power of attraction to fill their worship centers. Both appeal to very differnt type personality groups. Both are likely a far cry the nature of the church on the pages of Acts. Don’t misunderstand me. I believe that if God was real concerned about the structure of our worship, or about the style of our worship, He would have said much more about the “how to” aspect of church life in the Bible.

What concerns me, however, is the ‘consumer’ mindset that seems to permeate the 21st century western church. Church attendance largely has come to reflect a “preference” mentality. We attend the church that offers us what we are looking for in church. We pick and choose from extremes that reflect a one-stop department store approach where we pick and choose what suits us, or from a “boutique” style that is custom designed to reflect our personal preferences.

The casualty in all of this is “the mission”. We seem to be oblivious to the most basic of the call to follow Christ, where Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him DENY HIMSELF, take up His cross, and follow me.” Let that challenge sink in for a little while.

We seem to focus our attention on the success of the ministry of a particular church or leader on the concept of size and growth of the congregation. And yet it seems to me that while large crowds were often attracted to Jesus, He spent a great deal of time cutting the crowd down to a smaller size. The demands of discipleship resulted in “many who left and followed Him no more.” I suspect that a resurgence of “missional” markers, although not necessarily popular, will demonstrate the true church as we progress more deeply into this century. That is probably enough of this line of thought for the moment.

  1. Ann Addison says:

    Don’t understand why the video is on this link?

  2. I don’t show a video on my blog site. Sometimes wordpress attaches commercials. What is this video

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