Christianity the Consumer Product (Part II): Selling Jesus Out (TCM)
Question, when did Jesus stop being enough? At what point did we feel that God needed our help keeping members, or that God even wanted to keep every member? When did we begin to believe that church couldn’t be done without all of the music and technology? Don’t get me wrong, in every place I’ve been I’ve been one of those people pushing for the church I am attending to update and become current both with music and with technology. But, when did we begin to think that those things were needed? A foul spirit has infected the church, a spirit that preys upon the selfishness of human desire and envy.
Over the last 60 years, the world we live in has become progressively more concerned with the individual. Part of this is pressed upon our culture by consumerism. On a constant basis, companies are trying to figure out how to one up each other so that customers will buy more of their product. We have allowed this pervasive philosophy to affect how the church conducts herself within her own doors and in so doing, have allowed, excused, and encouraged people to be self-seeking, proud, and entitled. We see these attitudes when people leave a church because something insignificant to the faith was done outside of their preference or because a program is no longer there. We have made the church assembly about our wants, our needs, our desires. When we worship we want to worship Him our way (whether that be through hymns or contemporary worship, it doesn’t matter). When we listen to a sermon, we want it to make us feel reassured and content. When we serve our community, we serve our pet causes and only serve in that capacity for that period of time ignoring people in need every day. Some churches have gone as far as to rename their sanctuary the “worship experience center” and so on.
This has become a serious problem, a problem that calls into question the purpose of the gospel. For Christians who espouse to a consumerist form of the faith, the gospel is about self-actualization. It is about what we can get from God, where God’s goodness is not determined by His character, but by what He gives us.
Historic Christian faith is quite different. God is worthy of praise and worship, no matter how grand or how small just because of His character. He is good regardless of how hard our lives are, or how much suffering we must endure. Christ died on the cross because He loves us, and for that, we owe Him everything we have, we do not have a right to demand more of Him. Instead of asking the question, “What does this church offer?” when you are looking for a new church in your area look for a church lacking in something and ask, “What can I offer this church?” Instead of Sunday being about you, how about you make it about Him, recognizing that God is bigger than what style of music is used on Sunday morning. Instead of focusing on the church service, focus on whether or not God resides in that place. Yes, this will need to be done. Just because “church” resides on the side of the building does not mean that the actual church resides there. Many churches are more similar to clubs, social gatherings, or self-help groups than God-fearing, Holy Spirit lead, mission driven hubs of God’s kingdom. I pray that if you come to a point where you need to find a new church, or if you are currently attending one that is not following your preferences that you remember one thing. It isn’t about you, it’s about Him. Do not exalt your opinion above God’s mission for His church. Humble yourself and you may be surprised to find that your preference doesn’t really matter to you anymore. Peace and blessings and as always thank you for reading.