The Consumer Driven Church


How about this for the next book title on church?

The Consumer Driven Church.

At the consumer driven church you “do” church the same way in which you “do” your grocery shopping.  In the small town I live (Titusville, Fl). You can drive to Aldi’s because they have great prices, but they don’t always have the vegetables you need.

NO Problem – you can drive to Publix which is only 5 minutes from Aldi’s and grab your veggies.

But what about the movie rental?

Again, not a problem! Wal-mart is on the way home and they have not 1 but 2 Redbox machines!

Consumerism…. You gotta love it!

My family regularly utilizes all 3!  (Not to mention the often sought after cup of coffee at Starbucks which is located in the Target! – Located across the street from the Wal-Mart!!)

As for me and my house….. we will shop around.

Have you noticed?

Have you noticed our Americanized consumerism has seeped, more like flooded, into the local church?  Today, pastors are tempted to think that they need to cater to this mentality in order to build a church! The result is sometimes funny and sometimes sad.

Sometimes funny:

I like Aldi’s!  Mostly because they are NOT Wal-Mart!  They know who they are. Small grocery chain, with limited space, and thus limited product.  That’s Aldi’s and that is why I like them!

How silly would it be for Aldis to TRY to be a Wal-Mart.  The joy of the Aldis experience is: I don’t have to engage with ALL THAT STUFF.  Aldis is…. simple.  I like simple!  The point is – Aldis knows who they are.  Aldi’s is not trying to be someone they are not.

Knowing who you are is helpful in that it helps you know who you are NOT!

Crazy, isn’t it,  when the little local church tries to be the Wal-mart – super center church.  I have fallen victim to this, at times, over the years and I shake my head. How silly, even funny (yes, I am laughing) when we don’t know who we are and we try to be something else. It is a dumb way to try to build a local church.

In the consumer driven church we run to the Aldis church for relationships, the Wal Mart church for youth programs, and the Publix church for quality worship music.

I don’t think we are aware how much consumerism has affected the psyche of the average American church goer.

Aldis is comfortable in their own skin.  As a church member in your local church….. are you?

Sometimes sad:

It is sad when a church – that is an Aldis –  is lustfully trying to be the Wal-mart.  It is sad because we are not accepting who God has called us to be or who we are in Christ.  AND, this is the saddest part…..  often this church will do whatever is necessary to please the consumer.  This is not only sad, it is dangerous! Sad and dangerous because the church regularly translates into church consumerism. Which regularly translates into “watering down” God’s Word to make it acceptable and palatable to as many people as possible.

I Timothy 3-4

Paul, having instructed Timothy that Gods Word is God breathed and all the implications of that truth, then charges Timothy to “Preach The Word….”. As a part of that charge, Paul goes on to say:

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

(2 Timothy 4:3-5 ESV)

You see, what you see in churches today who have bailed on God’s Word regarding: sexual purity, marriage, family, parenting, and on and on….  is not so much about those issues. Drill down deeper than the surface issues and you will find a church or individual members and or pastors who no longer believe God’s Word is the Authority.

When God’s Word is no longer the Authority – the pastors and churches will cave to the pressures of people, fear of man, and consumerism.

You do not want consumerism to drive your church! 

A Long Way Around The Block:

Sorry, I took you a long way around the block to “get the mail”. But, here is my main point. What is your conviction about YOUR local church and about God’s Word in that local church? Is there ANYTHING more needed in the consumer driven culture that we live in than the Word of God?!? ANYTHING?

Actually, my friend, I do believe we are in the consumer driven church mess that we are in BECAUSE we have pushed God’s Word to the perimeter of church life.  No, I am not saying the Word is not read! OR that the word is not preached. I am saying in the consumer driven church the Word is used to “prop” up a sermon rather than “drive” the sermon. The Word becomes secondary rather than primary. Perimeter rather than at the Core.

3 things to consider:

1.)  Is the Word of God the priority in your church?  (This does not mean that the Word is read or even preached.  It, means…is the conviction that Gods Word is GODS Word permeating into the life of the church?)

2.)  Is the Word of God the authority in your church?  (All of us have an authority! Opinions or what you picked up from the professor in college or…….?)  If the Word is not your authority, what is?

3.)  Is the Word of God enough in your church?  (I am not saying other things (i.e.programs and ministries) are not important, but even other things must be built on the Word of God itself.)



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8 thoughts on “The Consumer Driven Church”

  1. Such a extremely essential for the believer yet it’s formation into our lives is so radical and has so many familiar less radical options in the world and very few to support a ,strong position in the word that make your analogies not only true but acceptable. Stay consistent to your message.

  2. I really loved reading this…it challenges my thinking and will help me to process the desires I have for the local church differently. Thank you Tim!

  3. Thank you (to each of you) for reading and commenting!! Anyone care to chime in how consumerism in the church has currently or in the past affected your perspective of the church?

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