A More Perfect Consumer Church, pt 2

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : March 5, 2005

I got alot of good feedback from friends (and some negative feedback too) about my "A More Perfect Consumer Church" post.  FYI, I obviously dislike consumerism’s effect on the Church, so if you are visiting here for the first time, don’t take me seriously.  Here are a few more ways that I think we can embrace consumerism more completely:
Some churches are now allowing credit-card donations on their websites.  I say we go one step further.  Why not church credit cards?  That way, if people have the money to give, great! If not, just as good! The church can get revenue from late fees and minimum monthly payments.  Of course, the APR should be 10%, just to keep things biblical.

Creeds are good things to have.  The Apostle’s Creed has been a standard of Orthodoxy for hundreds of years.  But isn’t the term "orthodoxy" a bit too oppresive?  I don’t know about you, but I think I should have theology like I have burgers: "my way."  So, here is a template for your own personal orthodoxy.  Fill in the blanks for your own personal creed (everything troublesome has been taken out):

I believe in ___________
          the _______ of heaven and earth,
          and in _____________:

Who was conceived of __________,


The third day ____________________.

______ ascended into ____________
          and sits at __________________________,

I believe in the ________________,
          the communion of _________,
          the _____________________,
          the _____________________,
          and life _____________.



Last time, I suggested cup holders for coffee drinkers in church services.  How about going futher and offer a punch-card for free coffee, as many coffee shops offer?  But instead of a

"buy 10 get one free" sort of deal, you get a free coffee for church attendance?

for further reading . . .

  • None Found


8 Responses to “A More Perfect Consumer Church, pt 2”

  1. Chris on March 8th, 2005 9:52 am

    I know of a church community in California that maxed out all their credit cards in one situation because they felt God calling them to fill a particular need. Not that it’s a good idea, but…

  2. Bryan on March 12th, 2005 3:17 pm

    Hilarious! Maybe we should take it further than the coffeehouse thing - perhaps even implement a food court. This is the day of choices, right?


  3. Ryan on March 15th, 2005 2:47 pm

    Would it not make sense for our churches to form corporate sponsorships with the big boys. Allow Pepsi to print an add every 20pages in the bible and you can get a crate of 100 for free, hell they may even throw in some free sodas. And why not update some of the imagary and put the Jesus and some disciples in Abercrombie clothing. It could be the merging of two largest religions today.

  4. Van S on March 15th, 2005 2:59 pm

    YES! Now you’re thinking like a consumerist!

  5. Ali on January 20th, 2006 3:15 pm

    The comments posted are granted quite humorous, but the real dispute of churches and consumerism will not resolve by pionting fingers but to re-evaluate your own lives. The subject of giving (no matter the circumstances of payment) should not be judged from one who does not give. In the hope of changing consumerism should it not begin with your own personal life? I agree that Churches across North America have strayed from their connections to God, but does that leave us the right to judge or criticize them? If so are we in turn, any better then the ones we criticize?

  6. Van S on January 20th, 2006 3:32 pm

    Yes, it does give us the right to criticize them. If we don’t criticize the Church when it isn’t being faithful, who should? If we don’t think so, then we have no way of making sense of what Paul is doing when he writes to churches, often criticizing them for falling short of Christ’s call.

    I think it is fair to say that we should criticize in a loving spirit. If my post came accross as harsh or unloving, I’m sorry. I don’t make fun of these things as someone who is outside looking in. I struggle with consumerism like everyone else. However, I find parody can be helpful in raising issues. Perhaps I’m wrong.

  7. Gregg on January 23rd, 2006 10:05 pm

    Hey, this just occurred to me. What if Paul was more critical in his earlier writings and more experiential in his later writings. I wonder if he shifted from using reason early in his ministry (reasoning and arguing with the Greeks, critiquing the church in Corinth, etc.) to experiencing his oneness with Christ in a way that it found expression in his interactions with the communities he discipled? In fact, the end of his life was an experience of loyalty to his growing boldness in Christ.

    It’s the idea of a leader who offers advice/critique early on in their career, but late–as they develop–they realize that talk changes little and so they adopt the use of activities and experiences out of which a new paradigms become evident to those they are leading.

    Just a thot…

  8. Van S on January 25th, 2006 3:08 pm

    I just wrote a response, but it didn’t show up! GRRR.

    Gregg, basically I think that your insight points to one of the reasons that elders began to be raised up in local churches: sending letters of encouragement and reproof weren’t enough. Wise guides were needed. These early elders were probably not “officers” or had any administrative power. Instead, they were recognized saintly folk who were examples and guides, and perhaps gate-keepers of the Gospel.

Got something to say?