Suggestions from the Consumer-Driven Church: Redux

kinnon —  February 3, 2009 — 15 Comments

From the Excuses, Excuses file:

I’m up to my buttocks in work right now for which I am very thankful. (The work is paying, for a change.) Though I have a number of posts in process – I don’t have the time or the horsepower to finish them. Doesn’t help that the decaf coffee Imbi and I consumed at a great Danforth restaurant with good friends last eve, turned out not to be decaf. Oh well.

I went rooting around in the archives of this old blog and thought I’d pull up this one from 15 months ago or so – an eternity in blogdom. Please enjoy. Or not.

Adverpacman01 I’m a consumer.

Nothing wrong with that.
I like nice things.
Shiny things.
Techie things.
Tasty things.
Dark beers with a rich foam head.
Did I mention?
I’m a consumer.

So. You want me in your church. Here’s how to get me.

  1. Parking. I need lots of space for my big SUV. And it better be close to the doors. Don’t want to do much walking. So if it isn’t – how about a shuttle.
  2. Nice Building. This is important. I’m not interested in some strip mall church that looks like it’s struggling. Or an old traditional church – unless you’ve done millions in renos. I’m an upwardly model semi-professional. I want my surroundings to reflect my importance.
  3. Proper HVAC. This isn’t important. It’s critical. I want to be cool when it’s warm and warm when it’s cool. 68ºF to 72ºF – year round. Is that too much to ask.
  4. Comfy chairs. And when I say chairs, I mean chairs. Preferably theater-style. With wide arm rests. Give me some space for my girth – and safe distance from the other arriving consumers.
  5. Be punctual. I’ve already spent too much time getting me and the family ready and there for the meeting. Begin it on time. Have something cool playing on the big screens to entertain if we arrive a little early.
  6. You’ve got an hour. Make good use of it. I want to be in and out in no more than 75 minutes. Maybe a few more if you’re serving decent coffee. Decent coffee that’s free, of course.
  7. Music. Three songs up front. One fast (to get us going). One mid-tempo (to help us be reflective). End with a fast one (that tells us how much Jesus/God/the Spirit loves us – just no Jesus-Is-My-Boyfriend songs. OK!)
  8. Announcements. Get them over after the music. Present them on your big screens so they can be done quickly. This isn’t a time to stick your B-team on the platform to give them some face time. And, unless Larry David is writing for you, avoid humor. Have the Final Cut folk edit your marketing stuff down to 15 second bites. If it works for Sony, it’ll work for you.
  9. Offering. Now. It’s up to you where you put it. If the preacher is great, after the sermon might work better. If not. Go for the money after the announcements. (Maybe show some shots of starving third world kids in the last announcement. Heart-string-tugs work for Compassion and World Vision – why not your church.) “God loves a cheerful giver” and the Malachi 3 verses and the 100 fold blessing are important reminders. A good story of how tithing worked for someone would be great. No more than 90 seconds though.
  10. Sermon. Twenty minutes. Did I make myself clear. 20 Minutes. 20. Twenty. We have the attention spans of gnats. Keep that in mind. Make it practical. If I wanted systematic theology, I would have gone to seminary. Use humor. Steal from the best if necessary. I want to leave feeling built up. And it’s a bonus if I can use the jokes/stories you told at work tomorrow.
  11. Final song. Let the band rip on the last song. Feel good, happy-clappy works here. You want us wanting to come back for more next week.
  12. Benediction segue. Let the band lay back and under as you Bless Us. Speak multiplied blessings over us – and then do a fast pitch for whatever product you need to sell. I did say. Fast pitch.
  13. And then the band amps back up. This is the place for guitar or sax solos as we head out the doors to the shuttle bus or book store or free coffee. It’s okay to charge us something extra for Lattés.

Like I said. I’m a consumer. Oh. And a sort of a Christian. If you build this, I will come.

Or so you’ve been told.

Larger version of AdverPacMan available here. Do feel free to use it.



A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

15 responses to Suggestions from the Consumer-Driven Church: Redux

  1. Bill, I’ve actually had a conversation with someone who said about 80% of this word for word. ;-P

  2. Good stuff. I love reading great insights into how to create better environments.

  3. as usual, spot on! now, get back to work!

  4. Consumer Christianity = American Christianity (or inverted Christianity). Man, was this the whole point of “the church?”

  5. That’s truly scary, Jonathan.
    Whatever I can do to help, Mr. Moncus.
    Back to work, I am, Robin.
    The only points I’m interested in are Power Points, Dale. 🙂

  6. “If you build this, I will come.”

    Only if it’s bigger, better, funnier, cooler, and more convenient than the church up the street.

    Nice post, even if it IS ancient.

    By the way, I finally got around to posting about over at my missional tribe blog like you asked. Sorry for the delay, I’ve been a bit buried since Sundance. Hope things are well with you!

  7. Two shirts is too cool, Jason. It’s a great post that I linked to on the Front Page of MT.

    I’ve also written a post about it here.

    Someone had a rather odd response to this post on “suggestions” – plus the link back here adds an Ad – how tacky is that. They may have missed the sarcasm. And what the heck is a “church brand architect.” GMAB.

  8. Hit the nail on the head… consumerism is the language of our culture, but is it the language the church should be speaking?

  9. yes consumer christian, and we’ve pretty much destroyed our planet with this attitude of ultimate narrcisism. Are you really Rick Warren in disguise?

  10. Oliver,
    I’m offended. I’m much better looking than Rick Warren. And have better taste in clothing. Although I must admit, it’s my wife who dresses me.

  11. Kevin,
    Where is the discipleship when we meet people where they are – and then accept that they’ll stay there. What’s sad for me is that some folk have missed the sarcasm in this post, and cheered me on with it. ‘Tis a little mind-boggling, that.

  12. There is a problem with all this how?

  13. you forgot the greeters! My Lord!

  14. i wonder…if i, being the church, ever do this? yes, there have been times in my walk that i have tried to portray a certain image and tryed to lead my self instead of following the Holy Spirit that is in me for my guidance.

  15. I always think it’s funny when people come with the assumption that I actually want more people in our church. It’s amazing how many people who either haven’t been there or have been there once or twice lecture me as to how the church is run. Assuming that churches need more people is a wrong basis for church function.


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