This article is frightening. This is obviously not a new topic, but I like the angle that is taken in From Lord to Label: How Consumerism Undermines Our Faith.
It makes me raise a lot of questions about Church…about the ministry I oversee, etc? From branding, to logo design, to websites and blogs, etc, etc. What is it we are trying to market and sell? Or are we proclaiming Christ?
Here our some choice excerpts:
We assign value to ourselves and others based on the goods we purchase. One’s identity is now constructed by the clothes you wear, the vehicle you drive, and the music on your iPod. In short, you are what you consume.……
Roger Finke and Rodney Stark, co-authors of The Churching of America, 1776-1990, argue that ministry in the U.S. is modeled primarily on capitalism with pastors functioning as a church’s sales force, and evangelism as its marketing strategy. Our willing indoctrination into this economic view of ministry is so complete that most pastors never question its validity or recognize how unprecedented it is within Christian history. ……
This explains why corporate models, marketing strategies, and secular business values are pervasive in American ministry–we are in competition with other churches, and other providers of identity and meaning, for survival. To appeal to religious consumers we must commodify our congregations–slapping our church’s logo on shirts, coffee mugs, and bible covers. And we strive to convince a sustainable segment of the religious marketplace that our church is “relevant,” “comfortable,” or “exciting.”
As a result, choosing a church today isn’t merely about finding a community to learn and live out the Christian faith. It’s about “church shopping” to find the congregation that best expresses my identity. This drives Christian leaders to differentiate their church by providing more of the features and services people want. After all, in a consumer culture the customer, not Christ, is king.