talking with some church ministry leaders and hearing their frustration of how many people are consumeristic, seeing churches as a vendor of spiritual services and products, go church-hopping / church-shopping and show a lack of commitment to a church for a longer length of time, and I had this epiphany, with a small E, that maybe what churches (and church leaders) need to rethink this.. after all, where did churchgoers get the idea to be consumeristic, aside from the market-driven society? Perhaps it also comes from the church itself? Could it be that churches that see their members as volunteers who can run their programs + attend their events + give their offerings, and reinforce the mindset of consuming THEM? Are churches consuming their members, putting them into service and defining their “ministry”, burning them out (a common problem among committed church goers), leave them be, drop them, and go on to recruit new and fresh volunteers, in turn consuming them? Shouldn’t the church be a place a person can go to both give and to get, rather than only a place to give & to serve?!
what if churches were to learn from the shrewder market-economy, from their good side, that the customer is always right, (ok, maybe adapt it as the customer is right most of the time; and even so, this can simply be the priesthood of believers)… and the church can go beyond “seeker-sensitive” or “seeker-friendly” (replace “seeker” with “customer”, for those of you not familiar with Christianese), and become a service-oriented church that actually serves its people and its community, without the overt agenda.. and by actually becoming a serving organization, perhaps that’ll develop genuinely serving people, who don’t burn out and get consumed.. rather than challenging (boy, I am so tired of that word! so overused! so overbearing!) people to rise to the occasion, to give more, to sacrifice more, ad nausuem rah rah rah, how about serving the people better and lavishly and generously, members and non-members alike..
elsewhere, I like Jen’s comment about emotional honesty that we adults can learn from children::
Sometimes I wish we as adults were able to express our emotions as intensely as children. Wail when our feelings are hurt, shout when we are angry, and whimper when we fall down. Maybe then we wouldn?t push that lump down in our throat when someone hurts our feelings, use weapons instead of words or even act brave when we really just want to fall apart.