Down With Consumer-Driven Worship!

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e live in a society that is fueled by consumerism. We’re bombarded with exhortations to “have it our way.” To “treat ourselves.” To do whatever it takes to get ahead and stay ahead of others. To expect others to serve us and cater to our every need. To consume our way to the fulfillment of our American dream.  The world tells us that we are called to be served. But Jesus tells us that we are called not to be served, but to be servants of all.

It’s no wonder that consumerism has infected our churches since we who make up the church have also been infected by this virus of selfishness.  We haven’t just been exposed to it since coming into the world; we were born with it coursing through our veins. Sin’s nature has infected all of mankind.  And only a spotless, selfless, slaughtered Lamb can cure us of this deadly disease.

Thanks be to God for sending Jesus Christ to carry our sins upon Himself, nailed with our sins to the cross we deserved to die upon. Praise God for accepting this perfect sacrifice for our sins and dropping the charges against us, forgiving us and imputing His righteousness to us. All glory to God for leaving His heavenly throne, discarding His kingly rights and taking on the very nature of a servant, becoming a humble slave to wash away the filthy, guilty stains of sinful man.

Jesus is not only the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53, He is not just our Savior and Substitute, He is also our example. As He forgave, we are to forgive. As He washed the disciples’ feet, we are to wash the feet of our brothers and sisters. As He gave up His rights, we are to give up our rights. As He laid down His life for His friends, we are to lay down our lives for our friends. As He came not to be served but to serve mankind and give His life as a ransom for many, we are called to be servants of all.

Consider the attitude of your heart as you prepare to lead worship. Are you seeking to be served by hospitable greeters serving up the perfect brew of coffee? Are you expecting your pastor to feed you just the right portions of God’s Word and only to your taste (not too fluffy, not too firm, not too sweet, not to salty)? If so, can you complain when your church members display consumerist tendencies, expecting to hear their favorite songs each week, played to perfection, with a production that beats any concert in town?

What are we sinful consumers to do? We are to receive the kindness of the Lord, which calls and leads us to repentance. We are to repent of our selfishness and turn to follow the way of Christ, the perfect Suffering Servant of All.

  • There we will find and experience His salvation and His strength, made perfect in our weakness.
  • Then we will be able to serve others with the strength that He provides, for the glory of His beautiful name and for the good of His people.

As we ignore the world’s exhortations to please ourselves and instead follow the selfless way of Christ, we’ll hear God’s call to lay aside our consumerism, and then taste and see that He is the ultimate goodness and pleasure we long to experience.  And having tasted, we can then help correct consumerist tendencies in those we’re leading. Worship leading becomes less like a talent show and more like a dinner table, where we take a bite and exclaim, “Wow, this is good! You should all taste it!”

Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! — Psalm 34:8 NLT

Kristen Gilles is a deacon at Louisville’s Sojourn Community Church. Her new CD Parker’s Mercy Brigade is a story of faith, lament, comfort, healing and worship following the stillbirth of her son. Kristen blogs about worship with her husband, Sojourn’s Bobby Gilles, at mysonginthenight.com.

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