“What can I get out of this?”
One of the biggest dangers of Christianity in the western world is the unwitting adoption of consumerism into our faith. From a consumerist worldview, church is seen as a service provider, and the body of Christ as customers. “What can I get out of this?” rather than “What can I give to this?” is the question asked.
And sometimes this consumerist attitude is perpetuated by churches, youth groups and ministries. We prepare worship time as entertaining and slick, with the most able people at the front. Sometimes we “bait and switch,” inviting people to a night of entertainment, and BAM! we sneak in a 20 minute talk and the invitees sit uncomfortably. Ministries are event-based aimed to attract people to come; success is measured by the number of people attending and whether they put a 9-10 in the “I found this helpful” category. Church becomes a place of choice rather than commitment; faith becomes an experience of gain rather than sacrifice.
Habits and Rituals
Of course, do not hear me wrong. Aside from “bait and switch,” preparing worship in a helpful and slick way, event-based ministries, numbers of attendees and their feedback are not bad things. But to what sort of habits and rituals are we conforming the church?
We Are What We Do
Philosopher and Theologian James K. A. Smith tells us that “we are what we do.” Our habits, rituals, postures and patterns of life form us spiritually. And when we forget to critique our ingrained habits that have consumerist values or form us to be consumers, we lead a new generation of believers blindly into committing cultural sins.
Are we consumerist Christians? Characteristics of consumer christians: