Transforming Church Team Blog
resourcing leaders…reenvisioning the future

Inward Focused- Consumer v. Community. Part 2

Rich Hurst

Rich Hurst

Churches don’t function in vacuums. In  Transforming Church Kevin G.  Ford points out that, “The church desires to change its culture. The truth, however, is that churches have been infected by the very culture it seeks to transform.” (TC Chapter 1 pg. 8). Consumerism has been, without question, the most powerful force driving American culture since World War II. Unfortunately, consumerism is not only destroying the planet, it is also deadly for church’s mission.

In Transforming Church, Ford gives a powerful example of a very successful church that designed its whole complex to resemble a shopping mall. And after a few years of spectacular church growth the pastor realized a shopping mall is not a good place to develop ministry mindsets.  Looking at this church from the outside one would assume that the staff must be very happy about the church’s enormous growth. But that wasn’t the case.

In spite of the church’s growth the staff realized that a shopping mall may attract consumers, but it’s a terrible place to encourage people to be mission minded. Church leaders who design their churches as shopping malls rarely understand how the culture has corrupted their thinking. “Consumerism shifts the idea of membership from shared responsibility to individual entitlement.” (TC Chapter 3 pg 23).

Church Infrastructures Are Seldom Designed To Recognize Those Who Minister Outside Their Walls.

I have asked hundreds of pastors, “Is anyone in your church involved in ministries out in your community?” Usually they have to think hard to come up with one or two. Of course there were probably more then they realized. Unfortunately people ministering outside the walls are often invisible to the church leaders. Churches rarely have infrastructures capable of recognizing or encouraging community ministers.

I would love to hear your stories.

1. Does your church celebrate people who minister in the community? If so how?

2. How many ministries do you have that go beyond your walls? What are they?

3. How are people given visibility outside the walls of our church?

4. How did you go about developing relationships out in your community?

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