Friday, February 27, 2009

McChurch: Is Today's Christianity Like A Happy Meal?

Fast food chains thrive because of the drive-through window. Customers pull in, order what they want and leave virtually unchanged. In Franchising McChurch: Feeding Our Obsession with Easy Christianity, authors Thomas White and John Mark Yeats question some churches today that are catering to the drive-through mindset.

Though many seem to have categorized the book as targeting the multisite movement, the intent of the book is to address consumer-driven Christianity, White and Yeats said during a forum for the seminary’s Student Theological Fellowship on Thursday, Feb. 26. They discussed how McDonaldization of the church has resulted in an efficient, “boxed-in” faith that may or may not leave room for the spirit of God to move.

Without questioning evangelistic motives, they asked whether some of the various means of efficiency, such as multiple services, sites or worship styles, are wise. Rather than just going with what works, Yeats said, “There are limits to what we should be able to do because what Scripture gives us are limits.”

Rather than looking for something that works, White pointed out, church leaders should be asking, “Does this glorify God?” He said, “Yes, we want people to be saved. Yes, we want to be evangelistic. But we don’t want to take down so many barriers that we take down the cross.”

White encouraged church leaders to follow the unselfish example of Christ described in Philippians 2, considering God’s Kingdom as a whole, and to re-examine “pure religion” that James wrote about. Therefore, genuine life change should be the measure of success, not numbers.

Future implications for the McChurch are unknown. White ended the discussion with a question: “Will the franchised church of today result in disenfranchised religious people of tomorrow?” Is efficiency really worth the risk?

Through the pages of this book, you will be challenged to evaluate not only today's church, but your personal motivation when you walk through the doors yourself. Are you attending a church because of what you get from it or because of what you can give to it?

You can listen to the complete audio of the forum here:

You can buy the book online here:

One final thought: As I listened to this discussion, I couldn't help drawing a comparison in my mind. Have you ever given a child a gift only to find that they are much more entertained by the box that it came in?

I wonder if in a way, we have done the same thing with the gift that God has given us: church. He intended for us to establish true community with one another - corporate worship, true teaching from His Word, fellowship, and accountability. Just as we are frustrated with the child who is more concerned with popping every bubble on the bubble wrap than the actual present, how much more would God be heart-broken watching His children argue over how to "package" church, who gets to wrap it, or whether the gift needs to be exchanged for something that really "works..."

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