The Church is overcommercialized!

Call me old fashioned, but sometimes the church just feels too overcommercialized. This morning I was looking at a resource book for church leaders (a.k.a. catalogue) and saw a new “package” of church materials that promotes something that I believe in. The problem with it is that it is a “package.” The idea that if you buy this audio-devotional for your teens, this video curriculum for your adults, these banners and postcards, and everyone goes and sees a certain movie and talks about it together afterwards you will start a movement. Perhaps I am just a bit jealous because it requires resources to do this. But at the same time, I am just weary of marketing fads. But then again if they work, why should I complain?

Why do we need all of this pizzazz in order to convince people of the message that is already contained in the Scriptures? The message of God’s Kingdom – which is very different from the message of the kingdoms of this world. Kind of ironic using “cultural tools” to spread a message that is counter-cultural. Actually, is it possible that the material and means we use to embody the message counteracts the message? When we make something “cool” so that kids will use it to reach out to those who are seen as “uncool” aren’t we propagating “coolness”?

The megachurch movement makes me uncomfortable. Yes, it creates resources for smaller churches that the smaller church wouldn’t have been able to produce itself. But, is the mega church to culturally imbedded. I want to live differently from the world. I want to be a Christian who practices the Sabbath, conserves resources, manages money generously, and is not moved by the whims of this world. Are there other Christians like this?

Of course, I know the answer to that question is “yes” because many of them are my friends. But I also have to admit that the humility and plainness of the mainline church attracts me.

Perhaps I need to become a hermit. Close off my world to all of technology. Sometimes I wonder if this would actually be a greater witness then directly engaging in the world.

How do we live in such a way, that not only how we treat people, but also how we interact with culture, technology, the non-living material world, and all of the beauty of creation is a witness to Christ’s transforming power in our lives? How do we live differently as aliens on this planet while still remaining salt and light? Wait a second – it is Christ who makes us the salt and light while we are aliens. How do we embrace this reality?

It just makes me think of a comment I have heard my grandmother say on several occasions to myself as a teenager and to other teenagers, “What is so bad about being a nerd?”


Katie Z. said…
I get so many telemarketing calls at the church it's not even funny. Everyone is trying to sell you something to make your church bigger, brighter, more hip and cool. It's frustrating!!!

I think that we simply have to be good navigators of the waters. There are some megachurch resources that I would buy and buy again. There are many that are absolute crap.

One of the ways that we make good use of our resources is something called the Iowa Religious Media Service. It's a lending library for churches and we can borrow items for church studies. So we get the videos and the workbooks, without all the extra fluff. We pay a yearly fee, use the materials without cost, and send them back for someone else to enjoy. Maybe that's a countercultural alternative to simply giving up on the technology all together.

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