Church just like a phone contract

Someone handed me a book called “The Trouble with Paris” by Mark Sayers. The point of his book is to look at how consumerism has permeated the church. He reckons that people basically enter into an unwritten contract with the church/pastor similar to a phone contract. The contract is that we the church will offer you the christian certain programs, music, ministry, preaching, and style, and you will put your bum on our seat and hopefully give something in the offering (and if a miracle happens you’ll get involved).

Things start to get screwy when the contract is broken by either side. If the church changes it’s programs, style, songs, preaching etc. then that will upset people (try googling “worship wars”) and they have every right to leave. However, whilst the christian feels that they’re getting perceived value, then they stay. I can’t tell you how ticked I have been at people who have upped and left because of broken contracts. Music too loud, not the right lyrics, the preaching didn’t have enough scriptures, the use of film clips in church, not being allowed to wave flags in the church. There’s always a huge turnover whenever a new pastor starts. There’s always a segment that don’t like the new one. It wasn’t in their contract.

I remember a time that I told one lady she couldn’t bring her flags and endanger people by waving them around on Sundays. I encouraged her to worship however she liked in church, but as a church family, we would worship together on Sundays in some sort of order. I remembered her eyes narrowing into a piercing glare and she said “who do you think you are, to tell me how I should and shouldn’t worship?” Needless to say she didn’t last long. I could tell so many stories and I probably will at some stage on this blog.

Thus consumerism tends to suck pastors onto the merry-go-round of offering products and services that will appeal to christians and non-christians alike in the hope that christians will stay and non-christians find God. We also try and minimise the losses (called closing the back door) and hey presto suddenly we’re no different to any other free market enterprise without knowing it.

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