Consumer to Covenant Church

We live in a free market economy and society.

We are consumers of goods and services in this free market economy.

We are accustomed to being labeled as customers, shoppers, buyers, users, purchasers, clients, and guests….ultimately, we are taught that we are consumers.

So is it any wonder that consumerism becomes a part of our perspective on life.
Consumerism = Viewing life through the lens of consumer; making decisions based on one’s position as consumer.

And, is it any further wonder, that people bring this perspective to their faith experience. “Church shopping,” used to be a phrase Christian persons would only whisper, not wanting to appear disloyal to their family of faith. Now many people who visit a church clearly indicate they are on a shopping expedition. Plenty of Christ-followers look at their church involvement through this consumeristic lens, using these principles to guide them:

We are completely free agents regarding our community of faith commitment, just like we are regarding our employment commitments

Our decisions about community of faith choices and involvement are based on our well-being and preferences

Concern for, or obligation to others in our faith community, is a lesser value than our autonomy and freedom to choose

Church is similar to other organizations to which we belong or in which we participate – with involvement being dependent on how well our needs and wants are met

We have been subtly taught by the church that its purpose is to make us happy, so when we are not, then it means this church is failing and we should find another

“We must surrender the self-conception of the church as a voluntary association of individuals and live by the recognition that we are a communal body of Christ’s followers, mutually committed and responsible to one another and to the mission Jesus set us upon at his resurrection.”
-Darrell Guder, editor, Missional Church: A Vision For The Sending Of The Church In North America

Then we shake ourselves and wonder, “Is this what Christ gave his life for?” Are we called to be consumers of religious goods and services?

Though the idea of “Covenant” has fallen out of favor with our culture and Christ-followers (see divorce rate), theologians like Dr. Guder remind us there are some commitments in life worth making. Some Christ-followers and congregations are recovering covenant perspectives….considering themselves intertwined with their faith community through practice and pledge. These tend to become “high expectation congregations,” yielding high levels of faith engagement and satisfaction.

Consumer Church To Covenant Church

May our perspectives on faith community connection become shaped more by our faith than by cultural influences.

Mark Tidsworth, President