Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Marketplace and the Church

I am currently reading the book "Historical Drift: Must My Church Die?" by Arnold Cook. It is a great book and I think every pastor should read it.

In one of the chapters in which Cook writes about some of the comparisons between the church and the marketplace in this area of "drift."

The following paragraph jumped out at me:
There are, however, differences between the marketplace and the church:
  • The consumer defines his own needs - God defines our needs.
  • The consumer has many hidden motives - with God, all motives must be open.
  • In the marketplace, the customer is sovereign - we must come on God's terms.
  • The market defines the product - only bad churches do that.
What strikes me so much about this is that so many churches have become all about the "consumer" in their pews. They are "seeker sensitive" and so every that happens in the church service is shaped to make the "seeker" as comfortable as possible. Of course the problem with this mentality is that Christianity calls for the complete surrender of self and a total consecration to Christ. When we become "seeker sensitive" and do everything to make the "seeker" comfortable, church and Christianity becomes a "me" mentality. This of course is the complete opposite of what true Christianity is.

By the way, when I read this book it is scary where I see the church world today in this cycle of "drift." What is even scary is where I see the conservative holiness movement...

Click on the link above which will take you to Amazon where you can buy a copy of this book. It's not necessarily easy reading, but I do think that it's essential reading.


  1. Well, believe it or not, there are actually churches in the Holiness movement that are doing the exact same thing (taking polls and surveys to see what should be taught). Here is a prime example of a Bible Methodist Church that recently did this:

    LOL! :-) Somebody could be cinically looking in from the outside and say that Holiness people are evil because of this, but you would disagree. And so would the people who get blasted on here all the time.

    Once again, I am very leary of churches that simply preach what the people want to hear, but taking a poll or survey to discover the needs of the church is in no way condemnable.

    But, hey....what do I know? I'm just some godless rebel.... :-)

  2. First of all, the point of this post was not to blast anyone for taking polls. The fact of the matter is I don't think I ever mentioned anything against taking a poll of your congregation to see where they are at. My point was that so many churches are doing everything to make sinners feel comfortable in the services. In order to make sinners feel good, we play their music, sing their songs, and our messages are all about their felt needs.

    When we craft our services and sermons around peoples felt needs all of the time, pretty soon church becomes all about "me" and no longer about "Him". So preachers preach cute little topical sermons about "Desperate Households" or whatever the latest cultural trend might be, with little or not Scriptural basis. The emphasis on expository preaching in lost. It's no longer the Word that is most important, but being "cool" and "relevant."

    It's the "me" mentality the scares me. Because when you use the "me" mentality to attract people to church, how are you going to keep them when Christianity calls for a complete surrender of self?

    I think there is a vast difference between what is taking place in these churches and what you mentioned took place at the Bible Methodist Church you pointed out.

    I have no problem with a Sunday School class survey in which the students vote that they would like to know how to study their Bibles better. There is a huge difference here.

  3. Well, in that case, I guess I would have to agree with you (hey, at least I'm humble and honest....most of the time ;-D ). Our church right now is doing a serious entitled "Your Personal House of Prayer." While the series is excellent, and I have learned a lot and been blessed a lot, I have also been convicted a lot. But I would rather hear the Truth and be convicted (which is something that is not natural for me, but God is helping) than to hear a "kool" sermon preached from "The Bourne Ultimatum." So I don't have an ubudance of room for "feel-good" preaching either.

    I guess my previous comment was just an explosive way of saying, "Hey, we've already beat that drum, so why don't we move onto something else and pound the heck outta that?" :-)

    Did I make any sense? goes on....