The reality is everyone is consumeristic to some degree.
That’s why you attend a church that speaks a language you can understand.
That’s why you attend a church that is fairly close to your home.
That’s why you attend a church that offers some sort of relative teaching for your different family members.
So let’s just get that out there first. We are all consumeristic to some degree (and that isn’t a bad thing.) We tend to start off very consumeristic in our Christianity (what can God do for me) and in our church shopping (what can church provide me). It’s just a fact. Nobody starts off their walk with Jesus or the search for the right church with Christ-like maturity and self-sacrifice as their guiding lights.
However, the question that a healthy, growing Christian should be asking is, “Which way is my consumerism trending?”
Are you becoming more consumeristic?
Are you becoming less consumeristic?
Here are eight things you can ask to answer the question, “Am I becoming more or less consumeristic?” These questions are for you if:
a.) You are a Christian.
b.) You are committed to a specific church (however you define ‘commitment’).
1. What is your church’s mission statement?
(Do you even know what it is your church is trying to do?)
Here are a few mission statements from different churches.
- Redemption Church: To multiply healthy disciples and leaders who are released to do the work of ministry.
- Elevation Church: To see those far from God raised to life in Christ.
- Redeemer Presbyterian: To build a great city for all people through a gospel movement that brings personal conversion, community formation, social justice and cultural renewal to New York City and, through it, to the world.
If you don’t know your church’s mission statement, you will never even know what it looks like to be a giver rather than a taker in your specific context. Churches only exist for the sake of those outside. The question for you is, “What does it actually look like to live on mission in the church God has called you to?”
2. What is one thing you have chosen to do in the last three months that put a dent in that mission statement?
Once you know the mission of your particular expression of church, the next step is joining in. Can you point to one thing (just one thing) in the last three months that has been your small way of moving the needle on your church’s mission?
3. What financial contribution have you made to the mission in the last three months?
Do you tithe?
Have you reevaluated your level of giving in the last three months?
Giving is the easiest way both to gauge our consumerism and also to change our current level of unhealthy consumerism. How is your giving?
4. What time commitment have you made to the mission in the last three months?
Everybody is busy. Nobody has a spare hour lying around anymore. However, Jesus says to be the greatest in his kingdom you must be a slave of all. Slaves give all of themselves for someone else. Have you taken just an hour from your week and given it away for the sake of the mission?
5. What preferential sacrifice have you made for the mission in the last three months (or longer)?
Have you opted out of your ideal service time to help improve another service time?
Have you chosen to embrace a music style that you don’t love for the sake of others that it might be impacting positively?
Have you parked as far away as you can to give others a shorter walk in the heat?
6. What pastors/leaders have you prayed for in the last three months?
A simple gift you can offer to the mission of the church is prayer for those whom God has called to lead the charge. Have you given that gift recently?
7. Who in the church, in the last three months, has heard the following statement from your mouth: “What can I do to help?”
Think about it. Have you asked this question yet? And if not, why not? So much of what makes church great is the fact that so many people ask this question in a variety of different ways every week. Are you one of those people asking this question?
8. What ministry or group in the church is better off now because of you and how you’ve spent the last three months?
Is kids’ ministry better off because of your participation?
Is the greet team better off because you’re committed to making guests feel welcome?
Is your section (you know, where you have an unofficial assigned seat) better off because you have taken it upon yourself to meet, welcome, and befriend anyone who comes into your zone?
So, which way is your consumerism trending?
Again, we are all natural born consumers. BUT as Christians, we should be continually shaped by the one who lived his life asking, “What can I do to serve here?”