Friday, February 6, 2009

Walmart for Jesus

When you swing a yo-yo around, two forces are at work simultaneously. The centrifugal force (technically "inertia") pushes the yo-yo outward, and at the same time, the centripetal force is exercised by the string, pulling the yo-yo inward. In the yo-yo these forces are in balance at the same time.

The church's challenge is similar. At any given moment, there is a centripetal force pulling us inward, tempting us to care most about ourselves, our comfort, and our development. This strong force is actually part of human nature, and it results in things like the Constantinian model of church.

What makes it even more complicated is that the thicker the string, the greater the force pulling inward. So the more stuff we have -- the more programs, buildings, and clergy we add -- the greater the temptation to focus primarily on ourselves. When that happens, the church becomes little more than a spiritual department store, a kind of Wal-Mart for Jesus, providing religious goods and services to Christian consumers.

-- Ed Stetzer, SENT: Living the Missional Nature of the Church

1 comment:

Jerald said...

The "string" in many American churches is made from high tensile steel while the "string" in many 3rd world nations is as flimsy as spider's web.
I think that's why the 'church' in the US is shrinking while the 'church' in many other places is exploding.