As a pastor this contrast of worshiper or consumer is often a topic of discussion and thought. We are in such a consumer driven culture that even church has become a consumer product. We change churches because we like the music better over there or the preacher is “really good” at this church, but we forget that we are not in church for us. We are there, as the family of God, to worship HIM. Church is about HIM, not us.
We are even consumers as we watch a sunset. “Isn’t that beautiful?” “What amazing colors!” It’s as if the sunset was meant for our entertainment. In that moment we miss the main intent of a beautiful sunset- it’s meant to inspire worship of God. Yes, we are to enjoy the beauty of the site, but the goal of that amazing sight is worship. God, you are so amazing! Thank you for this beautiful sunset. Thank you for what you have made!
One of the problems with being a consumer is that we are never satisfied. We have been programed to be dissatisfied and always wanting more. A beautiful sunset for a consumer would generate this response, “Yeah, that was good, but you should have seen it yesterday…that was amazing!”
Consumers see everything in light of themselves. It’s all about me. If a consumer comes to church the church is less for the experience. The consumer will be focused on what he or she wants and needs. They are not there to worship God, but to be entertained…to be fed…to have their needs met.
But what a different experience a worshiper has at sunset and at church. Their response is directed towards God. “Thank you, God, for your amazing creation. Thank you for letting me see this amazing thing you have made!” In church the response is similar. Whether hymns or contemporary music they are focused on God and not on what they want or like. They are there to worship God! The style of music doesn’t bother them….it’s all a way for them to praise and worship God. Worshipers are as happy with hymns as they are with praise choruses.
The contrasts continue with preaching, building style, how nice the people are and a hundred other issues that define us as either consumers or worshipers. The challenge for us, in a consumer rich culture, is to live our lives as worshipers with our eyes on heaven and not on ourselves. No church can rise above who the people worship. If we worship ourselves the church is doomed. If we worship God there will be amazing things happen among us.
So which are you – a consumer or a worshiper?