consumerism

Lessons about church from 'pasgetti' sauce

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*I know I spelled the word spaghetti wrong in the title. And I do it again further along in this blog post (This is so all you Grammar Nazis can continue reading).

I am not completely sure where I'm going with this, but here it is anyways—maybe this is written so you can add your two cents worth.

In Malcolm Gladwell's 2044 TED Talk on "Choice, happiness, and spaghetti sauce," he talks about the power of choice and the importance of understanding universals and variables when making choices. He talks about the cooking/food industry search for cooking universals—one way to treat all of our food desires and taste for food. What they discovered was there wasn't really any universal food desires or tastes.

As I watched Gladwell's TED Talk, I kept thinking about what my buddy Mike Packer has told me,

"It takes all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people."

In a way Gladwell's TED Talk sort of spoke to this point. The researcher in his story proved while it seems on the outside everyone wants or desires the same thing, in reality many don't. So food manufactures, in their effort to be on top of the food industry, needed to broaden their choices they offer to consumers.

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Now I know watch your thinking! Is Joe advocating for consumeristic churches—ones that offer everything under the sun or what i like to call Buffet Churches. The answer to this is NO, NO no and no (See I stopped my yelling)... I think a consumeristic bent on Christianity has been the devil's tool to weaken the church. Enough on that, I've blogged about this several times.

I've been there and done that. I am sure it works for some people, but I've been hard-pressed to see costly discipleship. From my experience, people who have latched onto what Bonhoeffer calls "Costly Grace" and are living out a costly discipleship, don't take advantage of the Buffet menu.

I am simple making an observation. Much like what my buddy Mike has shared with me, there is a need for churches of different flavors, worship styles, of different sizes, and etc... It takes all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people.

Much like pasgetti sauce... There is not one right way to be the church.

News flash for you! Not everyone in your city will go to your church. And not everyone will like the way your church does church. So let's stop telling each other how each of our churches should be functioning. Allow the Holy Spirit to shape you, your people, and your church.

God has big plans for you and your church. Stop trying to be like everyone else. Quit being a schizophrenic church.

No more competition. No more Jealousy. Just BE the church the Holy Spirit has called you, shaped you, and allowed you to be.

Do me a favor and read the words of the image to below to yourself three times out loud.

 

Image found via loswhit

 

Yeah. Jealousy is a lie.

 

Let the conversation begin...

Are we doing things backwards in the church?

Photo Credit: Pixabay I just saw an advertisement on Twitter that struck me kind of funny. This advertisement was a promoted tweet, where a Christian resource company—they sell curriculum, books, and other stuff was having a huge sale on all their stuff...

"How generous of them" was my initial thought. Then I said to myself, we (the church) don't have a lot of money so I won't even look and see what they have... Then I remembered that for the last six and a half years I have been on staff in some large churches, and now at a small church where the cash-flow was or is not flowing. We really were not able to buy curriculum and other stuff that we deemed necessary to run effective ministry/programs—we wanted to spend what little dollars we had directly on people, meeting their tangible needs or just pay the bills.

We learned to do ministry with almost a zero dollar budget or on a shoestring. It's funny, because during this time, Lars Rood wrote a book entitled "Youth Ministry On A Shoestring: How to do more with less, but we couldn't afford to buy his book...Haha.

We experienced frustrating and difficult times, but we also saw the generosity of the church engage in ground level ministry—when we needed doughnuts, people brought doughnuts or alternatives, instead of the paid staff buying them with ministry budget dollars. And the examples could go on and on... People became more invested in the ministry and the mission of the church, instead of being just consumers.

We also saw creativity expressed in ways we hadn't seen before. We couldn't buy curriculum, so we were forced to write our own. Paid and non-paid people all contributed to the edification of the body.

People stepped up—they worked and lived through the gifts of the Holy Spirit. People grew and matured in ways that money can't buy or fabricate.

Not having a lot of money can actually be a good thing. It causes us to really dig deep down and find out what really matters, especially when it comes to the church. Having a ton of kick-butt programs with all the bells and whistles that go with them, and having paid ministry specialists for every ministry program can be necessary to some degree. But when all of this get's in the way of the church being the church—it should cause us to pause and reflect on what really matters to mission of Jesus.

I am not against Christian resource companies and I am sure I will buy some stuff from them, once I have some cash flow to do so—it's just that I am beginning to wonder, out-loud, if you will allow me to do so—what would discipleship look like if we didn't have all these resources at our fingertips...

Are we doing things backwards in the church?

When is being selfish in the church okay...

(This post has not been edited for errors. These are my raw, honest thoughts.) Okay here you go...

One of the hardest things for me to hear and something that is really bugging me is hearing people talk about the church as if it is something that is consumed rather than something to be actively living out in our lives and community. I hear from ministry friends from all over the country that share in this frustration.

I get sad when I hear people church hop because the church community/family they have been a part of is no longer meeting their needs or no longer is the cool flashy place they can invite friends to. I guess in reality they really don't see church as a community or family, instead it is place to meet personal needs and desires... We people abandon a church for these reasons they show their true colors, they were only seeking to be a part of God's kingdom for selfish reasons i.e. "what can I get out of church." They are like the kid in high school who only hangout with certain people because it will benefit them socially, but once that person(s) can no longer benefit them they move on to a different friend or group...

I also get frustrated when people leave churches because of conflict they have with a pastor, church staff, or another believer. How can we expect to rule and judge alongside Jesus if we can't even settle hurt feelings, disagreements, character clashes, disputes, and the like amongst ourselves, the body, house, bride of Jesus? I think the Apostle Paul said something to this affect in 1 Corinthians 6:1-11. When someone abandons the church they were a part of for these reasons, they are like the kid who doesn't like it that the pickup game of football isn't going their way so they get their football and go home...

The problem is that our North American culture allows for this kind of flippant Christianity, and our churches do as well... I dont judge a person's desire to keep from going to hell, but I do judge their selfish and consumeristic motivations for being a part of the body, the house, and the bride of Jesus.

DON'T get me wrong! Sometimes the only solution to a problem is to leave and find another church to be a part of, that is not what I'm talking about here. I am referencing people who for selfish-consumeristic motives leave churches.

The solution (Your are correct to assume that I have already premised the former is incorrect, unhealthy, and not what God wants His Church to demonstrate to a world that needs His grace and mercy)... Well there are many things that can be done to help the situation, but lets just take a glimpse of three ideas for this blog post... Abide in Jesus (John 15:1-11 ESV), Love one another (John 15:12-17 ESV), and do good works (Ephesians 2:1-10 ESV). If we do these things then it becomes hard to be selfish and have selfish-consumeristic motivations, and people might actually stay at their church and BE the church. To answer the question in my title of this blog post - I'm not sure it is ever okay to be selfish if it blemishes the church...

Okay and done...