Consumer Christians

Many Christians feel that Christianity is declining in Korea. One sign of the decline is that church members there are turning into mere consumers. This is especially true in megachurches. People go to churches that meet their needs. They remain in those churches as long as their needs are met. But if other churches offer better programs, especially for their children, they don’t hesitate to move.

Because the only reason they join a church is to get something from it, they’re unwilling to make sacrifices. I heard about an episode at a megachurch in Korea where the Women’s Club planned an event to make kimchee for the church. When the day came, many of the women sent their maids in their stead.

When church life lacks self-denial and sacrifice, church activities become hobbies rather than service or ministry.

Pastors bear responsibility for producing consumer Christians. Many are obsessed with church growth and accept people as members indiscriminately, regardless of whether they are unbelievers or members from neighboring churches. To keep these people in their churches, they offer numerous programs to make them happy. They never ask their members for dedication and sacrifice, fearing that they may leave their churches. All this adds up to produce consumer Christians.

I don’t think God wants big churches. He just wants churches that are faithful to the Great Commission, that reach nonbelievers and make them disciples of Jesus.

Since our church ministries are centered around the Great Commission, we ask for commitment and sacrifice the moment people set foot in our church. For example, when people take the introductory New Life Bible class, they are required to pay for registration. They also take turns preparing food for their classmates. Their Shepherds are not allowed to help them as it’s part of their training for service.

When we ask new Christians for commitment and sacrifice, they grow into disciples of Jesus more rapidly.

Moreover, they feel happy. Why? Jesus said that he came to this world not to be served but to serve (Matt. 20:28). If service was his purpose for coming to this world, service must also be our purpose in this world. Our lives gain meaning and joy when we fulfill the purposes for which we were born.

If pastors really want their congregations to be happy, they must teach them to be servants rather than consumers.

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