And now, let the finger-pointing begin. 

            We live in a consumer society. We are raising a consumer generation—possibly even the second or third generation of avid consumers. Because of this we don’t look for ways to serve each other. Instead we are constantly looking for the best deal, the biggest bang for our buck. We ask the question, “What will I get out of this?” I’ve spent time during the whole of my marriage trying to teach my wife that paying less for something doesn’t always equal a deal. Shoes for instance can be an item for which we pay a little higher price in order to get more comfort and greater wear (three years as opposed to six months). I often apply the same principle to food. We don’t really get a deal by paying less if we throw bowls full of uneaten food away. I’d rather pay a bit more for good quality, tasty food, than save money to throw it away because the food was inedible.

            The sad thing is we’ve become a consumer society in church as well. One modern trend is to look for the church that “meets my needs.” If I have small children, I look for the church where we can find the best children’s program. The same for parents of teens: we just won’t go the church that our kids don’t “like”. Single adults search for the perfect church in much the same way that they search for the perfect singles bar.

            Joshua Harris addresses this tendency in Stop Dating the Church by quoting a friend who said that “he’d been going to church as a ‘consumer,’ focused on comparing and critiquing. He realized that he needed to become a ‘communer’ who goes to meet God and express His love to others.” The focus needs to change from “what can I get out of this church?” to “can I meet and worship God in this place?”

            Are we giving up a relationship to gain a product?