by Thom S. Rainer
Founder & CEO
I am a church member. I teach a small group in my church. I occasionally preach when my pastor is out. I give to the church faithfully. I have been involved in other ministries in the church over the years.
But I sometimes start acting like a church consumer instead of a committed church member. Instead of focusing on others as 1 Corinthians 12 and 13 clearly demonstrate, I start acting like the church is supposed to serve me. I want to get my needs met. I want things a certain way for my family and me. My unholy trinity is me, myself, and I.
Tracking My Own Attitude and Behavior
Recently, I’ve started tracking my own attitude by going through a series of signs that my commitment to my church is not what it should be. Here are eleven signs that I am becoming a church consumer instead of a committed church member.
You know you are becoming a church consumer when:
- Your worship attendance becomes optional.
- You replace in-person attendance with digital attendance (though I fully understand that some people are unable to attend in-person).
- Your attendance to a small group is declining, or you stop attending completely.
- Your attitude toward your church is more critical.
- Your giving declines or stops.
- You critique sermons instead of listening prayerfully.
- You see church as a place to meet your needs instead of your meeting the needs of others.
- You move readily to another church when your needs are not met.
- You get frustrated at what other church members aren’t doing.
- You don’t pray for your church regularly.
- You don’t share the gospel.
Church Consumers Are Not Biblical
The local church is the dominant topic in the Bible after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus. Indeed, the entirety of the New Testament, from Acts 2 to Revelation 3, is either about the local church or written in the context of the local church.
The local church is God’s plan A, and he didn’t leave us a plan B.
I am a church member.
Sometimes I need to be reminded to act and think like one.