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Confessions of a Guilty Church Consumer

           America is a consumerist society.  It is wonderful to have so many options to choose from and to obtain our favorite foods, beverages, tools, cars, clothes, and entertainment. 

            But what of our character?  The market works not only to meet our needs, but also to fulfill our desires.  As a result, we become people who think that the world exists for us.  This attitude is disastrous for Christians.  We become church consumers, and I am guilty of it too.

            Since moving to Topeka, I have visited several churches.  I find myself dreading to enter a small church where I will be confronted with eager greeters.  I groan at the welcoming time when we greet each other.  I just want to be left alone.  Then, I attend a big church and comment afterwards that it wasn’t friendly. 

            This church has too many old people.  It’s not going anywhere.  That church has too many young people.  Where can I fit in?  I like the music here.  I don’t like the music there.  The list goes on and on. 

            What happens when I become a church consumer?  I consume the songs rather than give them to God in worship.  I consume the strapped church budget rather than give generously to the work of the Lord.  I consume overworked pastors and volunteers rather than give myself in service to the gospel.  I consume my soul rather than give it to God and be freed from enslavement to my passions.

            How can we be delivered from the sin and curse of church consumerism?  In a sermon I heard recently a pastor said something like, “When we live for God’s glory, we move things.  When we live for our glory, we consume things.”  The victory over church consumerism comes by living for God’s glory. 

            Our lives need to be centered on a desire for God’s glory and to serve him.  When choosing a church, we need to ask ourselves whether it is a church where we can glorify God and serve him.  If we’re already in a church, we need to ask ourselves whether we are there for God or for ourselves.

            Does this mean that we should go to a church that we don’t like?  No.  What it means is that we trust God to supply our spiritual needs.  When we seek to glorify God and follow him, we find that he leads us to the church that strengthens our faith.

            When we live for our glory, we consume things.  When we live for God’s glory, he consumes us.  He consumes our selfish soul.  He kills it and brings it to life in Christ.  Did our Lord not say, “For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it.  For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul” (Mark 8:36)?  God save us, save me, from church consumerism!

2 thoughts on “Confessions of a Guilty Church Consumer

  1. A good commentary Bill.

    When I read it, some questions come to my mind like:

    Do you think that is a Church Consumer because the pastor and preacher are “selling” a cheap gospel?
    Because as you wrote, there are young church, music church, old church, etc., so the church is looking for “the own target”?
    I think we have to come back to the Bible and remember Mt. 28.18-20


    1. Thanks, Oscar, for your comment. We certainly do need to get back to the Great Commission. All too often in our church strategizing we do fall into the trap of thinking of the gospel as just another item to market. I think that part of the problem in the USA is that we are used to having so many options and being treated as coveted consumers. When you combine this with the number of churches to choose from, we fall into consumerism without even noticing it.

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