18 Church Trends (and More!): Trend 12

Continuing my highly derivative series on church trends, the next six are from Carey Nieuwhof’s post 6 Disruptive Church Trends That Will Rule 2017.

Trend 12: Consumer Christianity Will Die Faster Than Ever

Really? Nieuwhof explains,

Our faith calls us to live for Christ and to love and reach the world for which He died.

As the church reformats and repents, a more authentic, more selfless church will emerge.

When you’re no longer focused on yourself and your viewpoint, a new tone emerges.

If your church is still defined by what you ‘offer’ members to satisfy them, and isn’t defined by how you love each other and the world around you, the clock is ticking faster than ever.

Men and women who are centers of influence among evangelical churches are increasingly sensitive to the problem of consumer Christianity. The church growth movement, while a needed corrective in the sense that we needed to make the changes that would lead to growth, often stooped to using Western marketing techniques.

Jesus and the church became a product to be sold by explaining the value received by the member — friends! sermons that help you get through the week! weight-loss classes! free gym membership! church league softball! free coffee! hottest band in town! If you want it, we’ve got it!

But the church can’t compete with Gold’s Gym, Starbucks, or even the local country club on their own terms. And why would we want to? The goal isn’t to sell memberships but to make disciples — and that means people who follow Jesus, people who want nothing more than to be just like their rabbi.

Discipleship requires that we read our Gospels, and the more we get into the Gospels, the more we find that Christianity is much more about surrendering oneself rather than getting a good deal on the preacher’s audiobooks.

The church is losing nominal members, but the members who stay are becoming more and more convinced of the necessity for true discipleship.

Praise God!

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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2 Responses to 18 Church Trends (and More!): Trend 12

  1. John says:

    “Discipleship requires that we read our Gospels”

    Yes. But are we doing so with revisionist minds? Are the admonitions to peace, gentleness and meekness made less radical by the desire for cultural and political protection? Wendell Berry’s little book, “BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS: Christ’s Teachings About Love, Compassion and Forgiveness” is powerful and disturbing….as the gospels are.

  2. Eric Thomas says:

    I can see what he’s saying though I think it’s great for churches that have the resources to offer more opportunities to do community together. A gym and tennis courts or baseball fields are great places to invite people who may not jump at a chance to join your small group. Who knows if someone might come to your church to play video games on Thursday and decide to come back on Sunday or join you for home group because they got to know some people. Those people can show Christ by being there for each other and being real. It’s easy to think that someone changed churches to take advantage of a free gym or a great youth ministry but what if they just wanted to be able to reach there coworkers and see their kids excited to go to church. Not so easy if your church is dying and half the members would leave if you had an aerobics class during the week after women’s bible classe.

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