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The biggest threat to the Church?

20 February, 2003 7:53 AM

In class today Tom said something that struck me. He was talking about the challenges that the Church of today faces as we move into this new century. We got on to talking about the competitors of church. Some would say that the biggest threat is coming from Islam or other religions. He said he thought the biggest competitor was not another religion, but rather marketers who are subtly creating a new religion of consumption.

Of course there is not an international conspiracy, there is not a competitive group of marketing types out there planning ways to get rid of the church — they are just doing their job. However in reality the Consumption mentality is gradually growing and growing.

Tom quoted many interesting stats from both Australia and the US that illustrated the point. One that stays in my mind this evening was that in the US per capita income increased 95% between 1968 and 1998 — but in that time giving in churches decreased by 20%. In the same period average levels of savings have plummeted and the level of the average persons debt have sky rocketed.

Some of this can be explained perhaps by increased costs of living — housing costs — health insurance etc However I suspect its more to do with a consumption mentality that has crept into many churches as it has crept into society at large. I agree with Tom in his assertion that this is something that the church needs to address — and something we need to address fast. It is something that I think that gospel has something to say about and therefore it is something that the church should be taking a critical stand on also.

Sadly though, after a recent trip to a Christian book shop, I wonder if the church may have actually done the opposite and bought into the whole consumption thing themselves.



A friend of mine wrote his political science thesis on the similarities between consumerism and abuse. I think the pattern of consumption in our society is really harmful - it creates, rather than satisfies, need.

Beth » 21 February, 2003 8:31 PM

Darren - you're dead on. I think as even as Christ-followers we have become materialistic consumers. I'll have a little of this, a little of that, and hold the sacrifice.

Mike Todd » 21 February, 2003 8:32 PM

Prayer of Jay what's his name baby. That's what it's all about and POJ or Men, POJ for Women, for Kids for your dog, and lets not forget music to worship the POJ, er, I mean to worship God by while he's expanding our markets, er, I mean territory...


unmarket and thrive!

owen » 21 February, 2003 8:33 PM


Thanks for the article,
God still calls us to be an alternative community where He is the one Consuming us. Hebrews 12:29

A Wannabe Soulgardener

Thomas Smith » 21 February, 2003 8:33 PM

Being consumed doesn't sound all that fun to me ;)

Beth » 21 February, 2003 8:34 PM

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