As Christians, we are all aware of the perils of consumerism. However, what might not be so apparent is how consumerism has crept into the mindset of many Christians when it comes to ‘doing’ church.
It is a veritable mega-mart of churches out there – all of them spruiking their wares. Some offer corporate worship experiences akin to a rock concert. Some hold out the promise of wholesome, meaty teaching (now with extra chunks). Some specialise in providing good old-fashioned pastoral care (albeit with instant coffee).
Now, don’t get me wrong, all of these things are great to have in a church (apart from maybe the instant coffee), but they should not be your reason for attending. For the mature disciple of Christ, the primary question should never be: “How will this church meet my needs?” Rather, we should ask: “How can I contribute to the Kingdom by being part of this church?”
Ministers get regular brain damage from supposedly mature Christians complaining that church is not meeting their needs in one way or another. (type ‘me church’ into YouTube to see some very clever parodies of this phenomenon). As a minister, I indeed have a responsibility to ensure my flock is being fed and cared for adequately. If they claim that this is not the case, I must take their concerns seriously. However, I also have to gently and graciously point out that lobbying to have one’s own needs met is not necessarily the most Christ-like way of being part of a community of faith.
Its not about you. You are the last person you should be looking out for when it comes to choosing and participating in a church. Church is not just about giving you a spiritual high or about learning how the original Greek has an in-built pun. Do that on your own time (listen to a CD, read a commentary, go to a seminar). When you gather with your brothers and sisters in your community of faith, strive to emulate the sort of gracious selflessness that is demonstrated by the cross of Christ.
When it comes to church, it’s the only way to get your money’s worth.
Author: Peter Chapman
* King For A Day is a weekly post by a guest blogger.