Consumer church

We are more influenced by our culture than we think.
Subtle changes.
Small erosions in the landscape. And like a meandering river cuts it’s way through the valley and discards those bits that are superfluous so our culture discards those bits that are not relevant. Over time you notice the landscape change and wonder how it got there.

We are in a consumer culture. From the onset of Sunday trading to the 24hour stores. I remember as a child having to drive to a local petrol station to buy milk on a Sunday, the station owner had a small shop on the premises but he was viewed dimly by the local community for being open on Sunday, you now wouldn’t think twice and you would expect a shop to be open on Sunday.

The internet has grown in the last 15 years into a a stable and acceptable shopping destination. Now the choice is infinite, you choose. You find the right price from the right place. Everyone competing against each other to offer the right price and present what they have in the right way. Marketing is massive and if you don’t market your products you will be shutting up shop. The bricks have turned to clicks and our high streets are gradually disappearing, the landscape is changing. What will it look like in 20 years from now?

These things are not necessarily bad, they are amoral. But, when we apply this culture to our Christian walk we are crossing a line.

We are told the consumer is right, we shop, we choose, we have the right to complain if it is not right and as it should be. You check the returns policy on the website, after all it is your prerogative.

But the attitude has entered the church, it has permeated all of our life. We rate the worship by the latest album, too loud, not enough guitar, didn’t like the songs. We judge the preaching and the level of children’s activities and if we don’t like it we choose another church. We shop for the ‘right’ place to worship. We are so engrained that our choice of place to worship is informed instead of from the word and the leading of the Spirit but by the permeating consumer mentality.

Shouldn’t our choice of church be something the Spirit of God leads us into, despite our opinion of the programs they have on offer, the style of preaching or worship?

The question is, what or who informs our decision?

Are our decisions based on the Holy Spirit’s leading? Or are they based on our wants and our needs, after all we have the right to choose.

The Holy Spirt has more of an opinion than we think, He wants to lead us. But do we want to be led?

Our salvation is evidenced by our being led by the Spirit of God.

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. (Romans 8:14 NASB)

It is not to be the consumer culture that informs our choice, our choice of congregation is not like shopping for a new TV. We don’t rate them according to features and the latest technology (though I am a fan of using technology to help people engage and make my life easier!)

The choice of congregation is hopefully a decision informed by the Spirit of God, He wants to place us in a family where we can make a difference. Maybe the ‘features’ we want are not there, but maybe we can make a difference, maybe our being there is where God wants us to be, after all isn’t that the best place?

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