In America there is a very large influence over our country. It is consumerism. Consumerism is where we define ourselves by buying things. We are bombarded by approximately 3500 ads a day. These ads are enticing us all day long to buy. They are telling us that we will be better off by buying their ‘thing’.
Buying things is not bad. But at the core of consumerism is the message that it is about me. Trying to sell to me is everything. Trying to make me happy is the focus of advertiser’s efforts.
What does this blog have to do with God? Only this, I have seen over the last 10 years a definite shift in the church’s emphasis away from it’s about God to it’s about us. I have seen it become heavily influenced in how it ‘sells’ Christianity. In many ways the church has become just another one of the 3500 ads we see every day. We sell how Jesus will meet our desires. The Church often looks like another consumer product we are telling people they need and emphasizing how it will make them happy.
If this is true, it has huge ramifications. We have moved the focus of the gospel from following Jesus to Jesus following us.
Think about how we present the gospel these days or advertise a church? It often goes something like this: Come to our church and we will show you how God will meet all of your needs, give you a stable marriage, provide a steady income, and give you lifelong friendships. In many ways this is true. As you commit your life to God and apply His principles there are many of these consequences.
But what I am concerned about is who is at the center of our churches? Christianity is about Christ first. It is about following Him and doing His will. It is not about Him doing our will. Christianity is about the cross and taking it up to advance the gospel. We live for Him. He does not live for us. Have we as consumers become the center of Christianity?
How do we pick a church? Many times it is the same way we pick a pair of jeans.
We ask questions like: What does the jeans/church do for my image? How will I look wearing/going to this church? Will these jeans/church meet my needs in life? Does the jeans/church have the correct number of pockets/programs?
Are we living out our culture or Christianity? May God grant us the wisdom to know. May we choose substance over style, reality over image, His presence over false perception.
“Jesus’ call to discipleship clashes with every culture and every human heart. In the West, it confronts our modern/postmodern individualism. We are uncomfortable with a God who makes demands of us. We are uncomfortable with the idea that the Creator of the universe might have an opinion on how we should conduct ourselves. We recognize no other authority than ourselves. We do not easily come under the authority of the Scriptures or accountability to the body of Christ.” – Skye Jethani, The Divine Commodity