Too Many People Are Spiritual Consumers Who Pursue a Retail Religion
This idea of receiving services influences our church selection process. Seldom do people look for a church that gives them the opportunity to serve. Instead they look for a church for the benefits it provides: the music, the message, and the ministries.
They’re church shoppers, pursuing church selection with a consumer mindset.
The result is a retail religion. These folks shop for a church the same way they buy a car or look for a gym.
They make a list—either literally or figuratively—of the things their new car, gym, or church must have. Then they make their wish list of what they hope their new car, gym, or church could have. And then they make a final list of deal breakers, detailing the things their new car, gym, or church can’t have.
Then they go shopping.
They tick off items on their list. With intention they test drive cars, check out gyms, or visit churches. In each case, they immediately reject some and consider others as possibilities.
Eventually they grow tired of shopping and make their selection from the top contenders, seeking a solution that provides them with the most value.
Instead Pursue Service and Community
A better, and more God-honoring approach, is to seek a church community that provides opportunities for us to serve. We need to stop thinking of church for the things it will provide for us and instead consider the things we can do for it, that is, for the people who go there and the community surrounding it.
We should look for a church that provides opportunities for us to serve, according to how God has wired us, ways that make us come alive. This includes service within the church and to those outside the church.
Service is not an isolated activity. As we serve, we do so in community. Church service and community matter more than church programs and benefits.
Retail religion is out, and church community and service are in.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.