Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Trend: Christian Consumer Reporting

I've noticed a trend recently of people visiting multiple churches and Christian events in order to review them in sort of "Consumer Reports" fashion.

A few examples:
I'm not sure how I feel about this.

On one hand, it probably does provide some valuable feedback to churches and "shoppers" about the visitor/outsider experience at their places of worship.

On the flip side, it commercializes something sacred and allows us to enter the consumer mindset of "What can you do for me?" My guess is that's not what Christ intended for his bride.

Your thoughts?


chipgillespie said...

I think it points to the consumerist nature of our culture and feeds even more the whore/bride condition of the church.

On the consumer's end, it feeds the desire for a trendy, hip, "relevant", and technologically up-to-date church with catchy tunes and a funny message. And on the church's end, it fosters attitudes of and priorities of being that place so that folks will think your church is "cool". It has very little to do with Christ, and even less to do with the way that he shared his love with a broken world and how he commanded us to.

Because, after all, Jesus went to a "cool" church, and so should you.


chipgillespie said...

Thanks for posting and pointing this out.

APN said...

Not that I'm condoning people who are "testing" out these churches as if they were test-driving cars, but don't churches market themselves this way?!?

"Come to our church for the best hour of your week!"

"Come to our church for the best programs in town!"

"Come to our church for the best Bible-based preaching in town!"

"Come to our church for the best networking in town!"

**Looks around for Jesus in all of the hype, but can't fine Him anywhere**

Sketch the Journalist said...

Good points by both. I sense a bit of the "chicken/egg" argument, no?

Anonymous said...

I personally have fallen in this trap of making it all about ME not about Him! It's two-fold. The bad simply awful,sometimes well deserved attitude toward "Christians" has turned many away and the effort to bring them back waters down the true holy and spiritual nature of what church should be. It should be first and foremost a place to simply worship! What a concept! Our Christ like love we portray should attract non-believers. Beth

Anonymous said...

OK let me just first start by saying DAMN YOU! ( I can say that to you in our stable and friendly rib poking relationship, right?):)

Seriously though, I am sick and wanted to go back to bed after the kids left this morning, but instead I spent almost an hour reading these and other articles on this subject. This one in particular is intriguing even if it is in Playboy. :)
(by the author of "Rapture Ready")

And I still don't totally know what I think. I had a conversation with someone recently about this subject and specifically my woes about the mega church and the Christian sub culture and how I feel we have lost the reverence part of things...and well, he pretty much ripped me a new one, telling me that the mega church is where the most good is being done and that is where people get brought in to a knowledge of Christ (if they get into a small group)...uh...ok...and that even if they didn't really know and love the Lord that is was better to be churched (for moral reasons being the obvious) than to not go at all...So there is the argument that I can't seem to win with MOST people I know. The other people I know have just stopped going to church all together. And don't care to argue this point anymore.

I did actually enjoy the relevant article if only to verify everything I already know to be true. I did not write an article on it...but pretty much the past 4 years have been THAT article for us. We have done the Anglican church, the mega, the methodist, the non-denom ( a few times) the semi-emergent, and even visited an Orthodox church, which was probably one of the most moving experiences for me on a whole. But would I miss the lights, the band and the passionate hand waving on a regular basis??? Maybe so...I feel like with all my complaints I am probably just as much of the problem as anyone else out there. What is the solution????????????? I would love to get on board if I just knew the answer. (and don't tell me it's Jesus)

sorry for the book!

Neeci said...

Yo Sketch, it's Ndidi/Neeci. For some reason, I didn't get that feeling from the Relevant article. It just made me realize that ,well, every church is different. I like how Jason Boyett asks at the end of the article if in our quest to engage the culture, are we losing something important?

Like iamnotasoccermom, the article reminds me of my 18 years of going to different churches. I could definitely relate in the differences - and guess who's going Episcopalian after being baptized there 18 years ago? Me, lol.

Sketch the Journalist said...

Hey Neeci, thanks for reading.

Regarding the Boyett/Relevant article, I actually liked it too. I didn't find it to be too critical or feel that he was advocating "shopping" or the consumer mentality.

My purpose of posting it here was because it was one of the things that caused me to see the trend.

And in general, I can swallow and laugh along with the criticism when it comes from "one of us" as it did with Boyett.

Jnorm888 said...

Good, I'm glad you were able to see that. More and more, America is becoming a secular country. a market consumer drivin country.

The faith was once passed on to the Saints. It is not suppose to be a consumer drivin outlet. ....that will change with the latest fad.

There is something wrong with this picture, and I'm glad you saw it


Jnorm888 said...

You can see this too with the whole Rev. Wright thing. People were asking why didn't Obama leave.

They were saying why was he there for 20 years?

The CHURCH is about the Worship of God. It is God centered, not man centered. We are not there for the pastor, nor for the other people in the Parish. We are not there for the music, or the kids ministry.

We are there to Worship God, in Spirit and Truth.

I'm glad you were able to see that there was something wrong with that picture.


Anonymous said...

My disillussionment and irritation with "church", after much soul and church searching, I have found is just a symptom of not having the closeness I want with MY Saviour. Worshipping with others is important and should enhance our intimacy with Him but when we lose that focus,can we ever find contentment in any church? Thanks for stirring me up! Beth