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Alan Hirsch is messing with me – part 1

September 2, 2008

Just as God was doing the miracles that it took to call Jana and I down to The Bridge, He also began to put a serious discontent into my heart with “church as usual”.  Even though Jana and I went to one of the best churches I’ve ever seen, I still didn’t see anything close to the powerful movement I saw in The Bible.

During this time I was seeking vision for The Bridge and got a chance to spend a day with Rob Turner and his staff at Apex Community Church in Dayton, OH – a church I want to influence The Bridge.  Rob and his church had taken some huge risks and reimagined Apex a couple years ago because of a similar discontent.  Rob handed me a book called “The Forgotten Ways” by Alan Hirsch and I read this today…

Church growth exponents have explicitly taught us… to mimic the shopping mall, apply it to the church, and create a one-stop religious shopping experience catering to our every need.  In this they were sincere and well-intentioned, but in the end… consumerism has become the driving ideology of the church’s ministry.

The church as looking more like a shopping mall than a movement – this is really messing with me.  Have we really let our churches become more like shopping malls catering to the wants of consumers than movements overpowering our culture?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Nathan W. permalink
    September 3, 2008 1:06 pm

    Becoming a church that seeks to cater to the culture rather than transfom it is an extremely dangerous posture to assume. Clearly, it weakens the church’s witness and turns it’s members into takers rather than givers. Additionally, once believers see themselves in this way in relation to the church, it is only one small step until they see themselves in this way in relation to God. If the church is perceived as a mall, God is pictured as the cosmic “Santa Claus” whose sole purpose is to make us happy, healthy and wealthy.

    In this way, we reverse the relationship as it was meant to be, making God our servant of happiness, while we, like Jonah, refuse to do anything that could disrupt that happiness or comfort.

    This thinking rears it’s ugly head in my life whenever I face trials and suffering, as if it were some strange thing. I think to myself, “Why is this so painful, God? Can’t you make it a little easier!?” With God’s help, I will continue to learn that God is disciplining me as a loving father disciplines his wayward and ignorant child.

  2. Andrea Wandell permalink
    September 3, 2008 1:50 pm

    Amen Honey!

  3. Sean permalink
    September 3, 2008 10:47 pm

    It is not the mall that is bad. It is our reason for going to the mall. Are we there to get things to make our life easier, happier and/or just more pleasant. Or is our reason for being there to get tools to use in being missional the rest of the week. Unfortunatly many Christians need to taught (for the first time) or reminded of the purpose of being part of the institution. Happy shopping.

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