Obstacle 7 // We Have Embraced a Culture of Consumerism in our Churches
We are often driven by money and our unquenchable desire for more stuff. We are competitive and want to be on top, often hurting others as we push our way up. We let our competitive consumerism define us- our confidence and identity is too often rooted in what we have.
And unfortunately, our lives are often orientated this way unintentionally. This way of thinking is all around us; we are influenced by it and we often adopt it…even in the Church. We can hypothesize about how and when it happened, but at the end of the day, sadly, it’s still our reality. And we need to change. It can be difficult to see another way of life.
Difficult, but not impossible. Difficult, but entirely filled with hope!
So, Church, where do we start? Here are a few ideas to lead this change:
1. Repent – we’ve have failed to model God’s Kingdom values of compassion and generosity in a way that counteracts society’s immersion into consumerism and individualism. And instead of modelling these Kingdom values, we’ve let a consumeristic mindset sometimes drive our church’s mission. We are guilty of wanting the church to meet our needs, and fit our agendas. We’ve often viewed God as a commodity- a tool that supplies us with our desires- rather than living in submission and walking humbly with him.
2. Study the early Church in Acts 2
3. Start making the values of the early church YOUR church’s priority- Acts 2:42-47 says “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
4. Start addressing some big (and often difficult) topics related to consumerism and individualism, especially with your young people, for example:
- Discuss personal needs vs. wants
- Talk about being wise consumers
- Tackle the issue of debt
- Model generosity
The Church has the opportunity to model a different way of life and lead this change in our communities. Young people today need to be raised in this counter cultural environment, and help shape it as well. They need to see us authentically living out the Kingdom values of communal living, caring for one another, giving sacrificially and welcoming everyone. Will you lead us?
Louise Knowles CBM