This weekend is the college’s big youth event. Unlike most of my associates here I find myself unmoved by this type of ministry. There are several purposes for an event like this and the primary one would likely be school advancement and recruitment. We hold big Christian parties at our college so that students will like our school and come here after they graduate. Other purposes include fostering spiritual growth in young people and having fun.
When we use flashy events to attract people to our ministry are we bringing people closer to Christ or to us? Each event needs to build upon the next. The event needs to get bigger and better and compete with what the ministry down the road is doing. The people that attend these events pay money to consume a product or service we deliver. People evaluate ministry with the same mindset they would use to purchase a car. What does it do for me? What is it going to cost? What are my options?
The church has slid so far in to consumerism it is nearly impossible to live out your faith without paying for it. If you want to be properly discipled it’s about $9500 a year here. You want to have worship experience? Go to a conference or purchase a CD. You want to teach people in your church? Purchase lesson plans and materials at your local Christian bookstore. Each ministry competes with other ministries to attract enough people and dollars so they can offer bigger programs with better facilities.
Money isn’t the primary issue for me on this topic. It’s the almost blind obsession to make our ministries bigger and better”. Is the currency of the Kingdom of God larger, more impressive institutions or changed lives?
Lives are changed at ministry events. When I was in high school I was challenged and encouraged by the youth event at this very college. Do we point the immediate fruit these events produce as evidence for their continued existence? Do we have the courage to look a little deeper? What are the long-term consequences of doing ministry this way?
We offer ministry as a service to consume then we are surprised when people are unwilling and unable to contribute to the life of the community. How can we expect people to contribute to the life of the church when we train them to be consumers?
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