Consumer Christianity is evolving and expanding its reach. As it does, compromise comes along with it every step of the way.

It started simply with worship.

Tent revivals bled into Sunday morning and suddenly everything was designed around providing an experience that visitors would like. Shorter sermons, fewer songs, more basic content… just make sure they want to come back.

And it worked! Who can argue with the numbers?

Then it took over whole churches with the seeker-sensitive, attractional model.

Give the people what they want. Figure out how to turn them into dedicated customers rather than dedicated disciples. Build your church around programs and tell people what we can do for you. Make sure they really like us when they come in the building.

And it worked! Who can argue with the numbers?

Now it’s reached the Gospel itself.

“Don’t discuss certain sins or take strong stands – that’s off-putting to the world!” That evolves into “Don’t expect Christians to pursue a higher standard of holiness.” If we preach on challenging topics like the Biblical design of men and women, modesty, politics, and such, people might leave. And we can’t afford to have people leave. So just stay away, tell people to generically “love God and love others” without getting into specifics, and hope they’ll get the idea.

And it worked! Who can argue with the numbers?

Here’s the problem – Jesus doesn’t care about numbers. He cares about faithfulness. He doesn’t pander to consumers – He calls only those who will take up a cross and follow (Luke 9:23).

We have to rediscover worship as God’s regular table fellowship with His family. Consumer Christianity totally misses the point of worship, and in order to stop this cycle we have to get back to understanding worship the right way. Stop building it around what will be most palatable to the carnally-minded and start giving God the attention and praise He is due.

We have to give up the consumerist approach to church. We preach the Gospel to people. We aim to convert them to Jesus and the abundant life He offers. That is a wholly different idea than trying to convert them to liking what we as an organization have to offer.

And, we have to grow the backbone to ditch the soft-pedaled Gospel and start tearing down strongholds. God’s Word meets people where they live. It is not some ivory tower, philosophical truth we assert that does not mix with the nitty-gritty of daily life. It meets us where we live. It meets us right where we most don’t want to submit, and when it does so it offends us. But the Gospel can’t save if it doesn’t offend, because then people will never know they are lost and in desperate need of a Savior.

We have the best news in all the world. We had better start believing it.

For more on the problem of consumer Christianity, pick up Jack’s book Church Reset: God’s Design for So Much More.

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