Consumerism In the Church Hinders the Great Commission

The current church culture and practice in the United State encourages consumerism in the church, where attendees are seen as customers rather than children of God. The notion of building bigger churches and gathering larger crowds under one roof or a single denomination is detrimental to the “the fundamental principle of concentration on those he intended to use.” The Scriptures indicate that Jesus’ method was different. God says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9, ESV). God’s ways are not only different, but better. For, “One cannot transform a world except as individuals in the world are transformed, and individuals cannot be changed except as they are molded in the hands of the Master.” When  Jesus chose the twelve, (Luke 6:13-17) He set an example of a small group focused care system by which each person is trained to produce others like them. A simple and organic discipleship method, “It is necessary now to see how Jesus trained his men to carry on his work. The whole pattern is part of the same method, and we cannot separate one phase from the other without destroying its effectiveness.” 

In larger churches, leadership opts out of the Jesus model for disciple making for small group programing. The idea behind the small group ministries comes from Jesus’ ministry to larger crowds while maintaining a small group ministry to the twelve. The difference here is that Jesus spent the majority of his time focusing on the small group while large churches spend a majority of their time working towards meeting the expectations of the larger crowds. Coleman says, “He [Jesus] literally staked his whole ministry on them. The world could be indifferent toward him and still not defeat his strategy.” Jesus’s strategy is based on building leaders/followers of Jesus who build leaders/followers of Jesus. This process helps accomplishing the Great Commission through making disciples and preaching the Gospel to the ends of the earth (Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:7-8). 

Current church cultures and practices are inward efforts to reach the masses who may come inside the church week after week and even fall prey to their own self-righteous routine and good works, but they will never be able to go out and make disciples. This is not on them, rather it is on church leadership because large churches simply cannot provide the individual care a believer needs in order to grow. Coleman says, “The multitudes of discordant and bewildered souls were potentially ready to follow him, but Jesus individually could not possibly give them the personal care they needed.” Besides that, churches that are more interested in the masses tend to tailor everything to keep the masses inside the building under one roof, but churches that are more interested in the mission of God tend to release the message of God, “that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:19-20, ESV). Jesus’s strategy to focus on a few was his plan for evangelism, “Jesus was not trying to impress the crowd, but to usher in a kingdom. This meant that he needed people who could lead the multitudes.”