Consumerism in the American Church?
Last week we had the privilege to video with Skye Jethani, the author of the Divine Commodity. In his book he talks about how we as the American Church have moved to an enterprise system in Christianity.
We have been wrestling with this a lot at IML, of how we look at Church as nothing more as a bunch of programs, activities, etc. It by far outweighs, giving, missions, and serving the lost.
What are some of your thoughts on this topic, and maybe we can dig deeper into some ideas over the next few weeks?
The Divine Commodity by Skye Jethani
In light of some of our recent postings, The Divine Commodity written by Skye Jethani, has been a great resource for our team. If you are a huge reader, this book needs to move to the top of your list. Unlike most books, Skye Jethani does not provide 10 ways or 12 steps to anything. Skye takes a deep look at where we currently are as the Church, and how we have institutionalized something that was once so relational.
Consumerism is something that is heavily going on in our churches today. It has begun to create a distortion to our element of faith in Jesus. Skye uses the art and testimonies of artist Vincent van Gogh, throughout the book as examples of how even hundreds of years ago, christ-followers were dealing with the same struggles of when it comes to the church. One of the greatest examples of this is from the famous painting Starry Night, where the church is the only building with no lights.
Skye uses a quote from Richard Halverson, former Chaplain of the United States Senate. “In the beginning the church was a fellowship of men and women centered on the living Christ. Then the Church moved to Greece, where it became a philosophy. Then it moved to Rome, where it became an institution. Next, it moved to Europe where it became a culture. And, finally it moved to America, where it became an enterprise.” Wow! How true is that statement when we look at the evolution of the church.
Throughout the book there will be many concepts and thoughts on how we are using the Church as an entertainment platform to attract people. It looks at how churches have placed a emphasis on controlling staged environments to be their true meaning for advancing Christ’s mission. Consumer Christianity is turning shepherds into showmen.
The book will also point out some interesting research of how American Christianity has largely failed since the middle of the twentieth century because Jesus’ modern day disciples are not acting like Jesus. Although we are seeing many large mega-churches grow across the country, Christianity is only consolidating, not expanding.
Innovative Ministry Leader strongly endorses this book, whether your a Pastor, Worship Leader, or just a pew sitter. We admire that Skye Jethani is bringing an important issue that us leaders need to be aware about. He is not providing solutions or ways to improve, but bringing the insight so we as leaders can take action. This is a great resource that will get your mind expanding and hopefully thoughts of how we can build more authentic relationships for Christ in our communities.
You can purchase the Divine Commodity direct from Amazon by clicking here.
The Divine Commodity is published by Zondervan
You can also visit Skye Jethani’s personal website by clicking here.
Posted in Book Reviews, Churches, General
Tagged American, book, christian, Church, Consumerism, God, Innovative, innovative ministry leader, jesus, Leadership, ministry, product, resource, Skye Jethani, team iml, the divine commodity, zondervan