Recently I read an article that made an accurate analogy for the Church.
The simple call is for the Christians to stop viewing the Church like a consumer. Through the years the Church has slowly slipped into a religious marketplace. People attend and evaluate if they like the music, the preaching, and the childcare to see if it meets their needs. If they like the program on Sunday morning, they will decide if they will return. A program that is done with enough quality might even get a little money thrown into the plate.
The sad result of this shift is that most Christians want their Church to offer them exciting and challenging programs but are unwilling to help make it happen. They are spectators of religious activities instead of active participants.
Personally, I have seen this shift in a major way in the last 20 years I have been in ministry. The Church now provides more and better program with less and less support. Recently my wife has been leading a ministry to get more people involved in our Church. The majority of the time she is met with resistance. “We are already busy.” “We have no extra time to give.” Usually, before she can say a word people have offered up excuses on why they cannot possibly be expected to serve. Christians have been reduced to spectators and consumers.
The analogy goes something like this. When you go to Wal-Mart, you have no desire or plans to help stock the shelves. You would be appalled if they asked you to donate your time to make their store better. You are there as a consumer. You are not a participant. Therefore, they should not ask you for anything. Instead, they should be there to help you. They should strive to make you happy and be flattered that you come into their store at all. They are there for you.
This is the thinking that happens in the Church. The more we view it as a place to meet our needs instead of a place to bring the kingdom of God to earth the less we want to serve. The more we view the Church like a consumer who will take our money elsewhere if we are unhappy the less we give to the work of the Lord. Whenever we have an attitude that everything is here to serve me, the less we will be interested in giving our lives to the work of the Lord in the Church.
The Church is not like Wal-Mart. We are here to give glory to God in everything we do. We are here to make him happy with our acts of service and sacrifice. We are here to praise the Lord and give him glory. Doing any less makes us more like Wal-Mart than a Church.
Personally, I like Wal-Mart, but it is nothing compared to the Kingdom of God.