Chances are there’s nothing physical about your church that can’t be replaced by another church around you. When churches look the same (centred around a Sunday service and a few programs for their primary demographic) finding a new one that does things just a little bit better isn’t hard. [Think about your own city, every 3-5 years a new ‘cool’ church pops up and explodes in transfer numbers, only to wane in a couple years.]
[tweetthis]Consumer Christianity builds consumer Christians, and consumers are trained to discard what’s not working in favour of something easier or better.[/tweetthis]
In a past life I was an economist. There’s a term in economics called ‘elasticity of demand’, a fancy word that describes consumer behaviour when price changes. A good or service is price ‘inelastic’ if demand stays the same when price changes. For example, cigarettes are a price inelastic good because their demand generally remains unchanged when price goes up. Conversely, ‘elastic’ demand means if the price changes, people buy less or can find a close substitute with ease.
Is your church elastic? Easily replaceable with numerous close substitutes? When a church relies on the quality of their programming, and train their congregation to consume the offerings of the empire, those people will find a replacement when adversity strikes (and they certainly won’t become key contributors).
Which begs the question what can’t be replaced?
Memories, experiences, and ultimately relationships can’t easily be replaced.
I’ll stick around and invest in a community because of my connections to people–the depth we share beyond a mere Sunday gathering. That’s not necessarily easier, but it does reflect the condition of my heart.