Dec 6, 2009
Market Driven Church
The following comment was made about five years ago, but it still rings true.
"Churches often seem to compete, like malls, for the attention of people. That is probably not their intention, but the circumstances of our society produce that effect. They spend large sums and energy to be able to provide something for every taste, and it is on the level of taste that selections are made for one comfort zone or another. As the mall needs to attract a high turnover of the public to satisfy its stores, so the church presents an attractive facility with convenient parking as well as spiritual performances to increase the numbers, to fulfill its mission to the masses.
"But in the evident parallel it is easily forgotten that church is not a function called to render a service, but a body of believers who primarily serve God and offer what is precious to him. They bring to God their attenttion, worship, joy and burdens, sorrow and grief. They admit that God is right about man, history, and life and death. They serve God and neighbor with what we all need to know and do, which quite often is something other than what we wish to do or would rather not know. People should come to church to learn from the Creator how to live in creation, not to dress their lonely lives with colorful activities or cook up better feelings."
Udo W. Middlemann, The Market Driven Church: The Worldly Influence of Modern Culture on the Church in America (Wheaton: Crossway, 2004), 110.
Posted by Charles Savelle at 8:37 AM
Labels: Church, Ecclesiology, Ministry
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Charles, thanks for the quote...
I have not read this book... but I find myself struggling most weeks with the required pragmatism of societal contextualization and a purposeful "counter-culturalism" as it pertains to church vitality.
It's all well and good to say "we need a balance" but few if any seem to achieve that balance with integrity.
"People should come to church to learn from the Creator how to live in creation, not to dress their lonely lives with colorful activities or cook up better feelings."
Granted this is a true statement, but is it ever more than rarely true of the unbeliever attending a church service?
It seems that both present excuses for pride. Pride in the grandness of the operation, and also perhaps more common a "pride of the puny but pure."
Anyway, as I said, I find myself struggle pretty constantly with that balance. Thanks again,
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