In the world of retail sales, people are simply understood as consumers. There may be other aspects to a person, but as far as marketing, advertising, and the sale of a product is concerned, we are all simply consumers. A lot of time, energy, and money is invested into understanding what the consumer wants and how a product can be presented to cater his or her needs and desires. The retail world is aimed at helping consumers realize their desires and convincing them that their product will fulfill them. They often cause consumers to purchase something they never really needed or wanted. The good news is, we are catered to in many ways, so that we will have exactly what we want. The bad news is that others are often telling us what it is that we want.
It's easy to see the dangers of falling prey to a consumer mentality. First, it makes us focus on ourselves, our wants, and our needs to an unhealthy degree. We become more self-focused, leading to a more self-centered being. There is also danger in having external forces tell us what we want and need. These forces don’t have our best interest at heart, the don’t really know us.
self-centered vs. god-centered
The greatest danger, however, is the way in which we allow a consumer mentality to bleed over into our spiritual lives.
So many churches foster a spiritual consumerism.
As they seek to cater to the needs or desires of people who attend or who may attend. We like being catered to, so we tend to go to churches that do the best job of satisfying our “church experience.” Churches want people to come, and people are used to being consumers, selecting “products” that are tailored to their desires.
As a result, churches often fall in to the trap of pleasing people, and people approach the worship in a corporate setting with a self-centered, rather than God-centered perspective. It is a self-perpetuating, vicious cycle, which ultimately brings great harm to Christians and to the witness of Christ in the world. Preaching and teaching become unbalanced, and even the message of the Gospel becomes distorted. The whole Body of Christ suffers, becomes weak, immature, and ineffective. The world suffers as well, because the Body of Christ has less ability and less motivation to impact the world.
As Christians, we are not to be
spiritual consumers, we are to
be servants of Christ.