We nod our heads in agreement or in sympathy, having once perhaps been in the same situation–visting church after church, Sunday after Sunday, often left feeling defeated or discouraged.
Some people, dare I say, even use the phrase “church shopping” as an excuse to linger churchless and out of community. It’s the acceptable way of saying, “I don’t feel like being part of a church right now.”
A few months back, I had a similar exchange with someone and, as I replayed the conversation in my mind, I got a little angry. I realized, I don’t think we are supposed to church shop. Ever, in fact.
The Consumer Christian
The reason we are not meant to church shop is because shoppers are consumers.
Shopping, by definition, is the process of going from store to store in order to examine, hunt, compare, and inspect goods. Shopping supports consumerism–the preoccupation with consumer goods.
Shopping and consumerism support back-to-school sales, Memorial Day sales, Black Friday sales, and Cyber Monday deals.
Now, please don’t get me wrong. I’m not standing on an anti-capitalist soapbox, trying to guilt you if you scored some deals last weekend. (Heck, I did. Can anyone say Santa step-off? I got this.)
The difference, however, when it comes to the church is that Jesus did not climb up onto that cross for consumerism. The church, His beloved Bride, is not meant to be a people driven to consume.
The people of God are meant to be servants, not consumers–to give, not take. So, when we casually say that we are church shopping, we are perpetuating the mentality that the church is meant to feed us–give to us–supply us–fill us.
Job Searching, Not Church Shopping
What if, instead of our fear of committment ruling us or our laziness directing us, we allowed the Holy Spirit to lead us? What if we prayed about where God would have us, because He actually cares more than we do? What if instead of looking for the ways that a church can fulfill or feed us, we began looking for the ways that we can serve and take part in the body?
Because, instead of church shopping, we should be job searching. We should be contributing, not consuming. Building God’s Kingdom not attempting to buy it.
What if we stopped being church shoppers and consumers, and instead became job seekers? When we can throw out our list of church “must-haves” and begin to see our true place in the church. When we can began to look for ways to build up, bless, serve, equip, and give to the church, not merely take from it.
When we are looking for a job, sure, we want to hopefully make a little more money or gain a promotion. But, we all know that the times we feel the most satisfied and fulfilled in our career are the times when we are valued, integral, contributing, and connected. It would be foolish for us to believe that God has any less for us.
Have you ever church shopped? Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts here? How do we become less of a consumer Christian and more of contributing Christian?