Following Jesus or Finding the Perfect Jesus Business Model

Chris Salzman

Beyondwordsworth talks about consumer mindsets she has encountered in Christianity, which she thinks are rooted in how we practice church:
A young couple who’ve been coming to our church said they chose us because they “didn’t like the worship” at the church they previously attended...But when music becomes more important in choosing a church than the church’s relationships, mission, teaching and equipping, there’s something wrong in what we’re training people to look for.
And another one of her points:
I overheard two people talking about how to do evangelism--exploring the question of culture--is our town similar enough to Minneapolis to employ some strategies that have been used there? ... There was some background information unavailable to me and the setting wasn’t conducive to catching up on the details. But I couldn’t help wondering about our view of evangelism–it seems to be similar to our view of church. We’re thinking of people as consumers rather than disciples.
The crux of her argument is here:
Instead, most churches are operating as if culture, consumer behavior and our individual tastes are in charge. Give us what we want and we’ll come to your church.[emphasis mine]
In my weaker moments I have judged churches for pithy things like style of music. Of course I know this is wrong, but being raised in a society that prizes it's liberty self-reliance makes it hard to not parse one's church-going similarly. With that said, I would--hopefully--never make an actual judgment of a church's ministry based on something foolish like their order of service or instruments used in worship.

Whether or not they believe in Jesus, now that's cause for question.

How true in your estimation is this idea that Christians are becoming consumer-minded? Are the vast majority of church attendees just there because of the programming/branding/business model of the church? Or do you think this idea of consumeristic Christianity has been overblown? Would it even be a bad thing to treat church this way?

Topics: Online, Culture At Large, Theology & The Church