Archive for December 2020

Jesus People, Televangelism, Youth Culture, and the Commercialization of American Church

December 11, 2020 @ 5:00 am

In the minds of many American Christians, church isn’t a place to go to connect with the transcendence of God and contemplate the majesty, wonder, and beauty of the mysteries of the Divine- it’s a place we visit to be entertained and catered to. Some of our worship gatherings feel more like a pep rally or a pop concert than they do a worship service, and in many gatherings the teaching of God’s Word has been replaced by a more informal, conversational TED talk style sermonette about the importance of the journey of falling in love with Jesus. Oh, and on your way out of the auditorium, be sure to check out the church’s other offerings such as CD’s, books, and t-shirts for sale. But it’s not just in our churches, as American Christians we’ve created our own unique, heavily commercialized, highly monetized subculture. We’ve got Christian radio, Christian recording artists, Christian movies, Christian TV, Christian themed restaurants, even Christian amusement parks. 

We all know it, but most of us are just afraid to say it out loud- it’s big business. And we’re the customers. How did we get here? Is this the vision Jesus had for His Church 2,000 years ago? And what impact is this excessive commercialization having on our understanding of the Church’s mission? Is it wrong for worship services to be engaging or entertaining? Is it wrong to sell Christian books or make Christian music?

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