Have you ever heard someone say this? I have heard these words declared more in the past few years than in recent memory. It was Nietzsche who first declared that "God is dead." He wasn't necessarily saying that God had once existed and no longer does, as much as he was suggesting that God was no longer relevant to culture. The same is being said about the Church, not that it doesn't exist, but that The Church as we know it simply doesn't matter to our culture anymore.
And so the search for "relevance" came about. The 70s, 80s, and 90s were particularly marked by a movement toward church growth. The central motivation of any church organization became, "How do we meet the needs of people so that they will join our church and stay?" And it worked!
Well, at least on the surface.
The reality is that Christian church attendance has been declining for more than fifty years, and the churches that are growing are simply corralling the members of the other churches in the area.
The problem? Jesus isn't the center of our churches. We are.
We have become the Church of ME.
We are consumers. We "shop" for churches to meet our needs. And all too often, our needs are perceived--not real. We look for two primary things: killer music and great teaching. We might also want a good kids ministry or some other program, but the bottom line is that what we want has little to do with biblical discipleship and everything to do with what we want for ourselves. We are more interested in being "fed" than actually growing.
Consumerism is what happens when we see the church as something for us, instead of seeing ourselves as for the advancement of the Church.
How have you struggled with consumerism?