Don’t Be a Consumer Christian
One of the greatest inhibitors of the North American church is the consumer Christian. Few things drain resources and lag the advancement of the gospel more than this sin. Being a consumer Christian means you are more concerned about how a church fits your needs than how you can meet the needs of others. It includes a mindset that church exists for your benefit, rather than for God’s glory. Typically, consumer Christians have a few standard markers identifying them. They might include:
- Frequently moving from church to church because none seem “biblical” or “good enough”
- Regularly criticizing the way things are done while contributing little to nothing yourself
- Being more concerned with your own preferences than the good of everyone collectively
- A regular desire to see your own needs met while neglecting your responsibility to meet others’ needs
- Witholding financial giving from a church for virtually any reason
Consumer Christians, sadly, are common in our churches here in North America, likely because of the self-centered culture that exists all around us (and has affected the church in some regards). We see that the world around us caters to our every need; we wonder why God’s loving people can’t do the same. The unfortunate yet provoking reality is that a consumer Christian is no different than a parasite, selfishly sucking resources and contributing nothing to the very mission to which they too have been called.
Truth is, we all have a little of the consumer Christian in us. We’re all guilty of subtly (or maybe blatantly) thinking the church exists primarily for our own benefit. Before any of us are too quick to point the finger, we need to examine our own hypocrisy and consider how we have misplaced us at the centre of the universe instead of Jesus.
Here are a few things to consider in regards to consumer Christians:
- There may be a grain of truth in every criticism. Every church can do a better job of serving it’s people.
- Point them to Jesus. Encourage them to see the church as primarily existing for God’s glory and the proclamation of Jesus’ gospel.
- Help them to get connected. Christians who are serving have less time to complain because they are too busy doing kingdom work. Serving is the antidote to consumption.
- Motivate them with joy. Loving God and others in practical ways is one way in which Christians experience great joy and satisfaction.
Lastly, a few questions for a self heart-check:
- Am I more concerned about what I get out of church than if God is glorified and others are uplifted?
- Am I being generous with my time, abilities, and money?
- Am I expecting too much from the church?
- Do I do more talk than action in my Christian walk?
- How am I contributing to the mission of the church?
- How can I raise legitimate concerns in helpful ways?
- Have I considered that there may be logical reasons things are done the way they are that I don’t know about?
Don’t just consume…produce!