Creating Consumers? (part 1)
Friday’s post generated the following question that I don’t want you to miss. Rather than answering it in the comments section, I’ll pull it front and center. Blake asks:
By trying to create a “wow” moment for everyone are we buying into our culture of consumerism? America is all about how much can we consume. People will come to our church because they get coffee but wouldn’t because another church didn’t offer that to them? Are we helping people be just consumers? Now I know that once they are in the door that is not the message that is preached. The gospel is preached and that changes lives. I know that you have to get them there but I am afraid that sometimes that is all they will get. Anyways just some thoughts from a seminary guy, I am looking forward to your response.
In full disclosure, Blake is one of our Parking Team guys and posed this question to me in person on Sunday morning. I asked him to toss it out on the blog because I grew up Southern Baptist and therefore enjoy public, scathing arguments.
Editor’s Note: He’s kidding. I think.
But really, are we helping people to be consumers? Are we creating some franchised version of McChurch where everyone is asking, “What’s in it for me?” Believe me, I ask this same question every time I see our coffee bill for the month. I ponder it every time I approve a new design or feature of our First Time Guest bags. I’m mulling it even now as we’re about to invest some serious coin into signage for one of our campuses that will point guests to premier parking.
The short answer is, we’re meeting guests where they are. Just as Jesus never asked anyone to get cleaned up before he changed their life, we don’t expect our guests to take off their consumer hats when they walk in the door. I get aggravated when a 20-year member is upset because we don’t have their special blend of hot chocolate, but I will drive to Target and get it if a guest raises the question. The “Wow!” moments get their attention. They build a platform from which we can speak. They communicate care, excellence, and the fact that we are glad they’re here.
But is that enough? Are we fostering an atmosphere where, as Blake says, “that is all they will get”? The discussion continues tomorrow. Stay tuned…