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September 16, 2010

Friday Flashback: Consumerism and Small Groups

Feeling the tension between servanthood and consumerism



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There's been a lot of talk about Western Christians viewing church with a consumer mindset. This is a mindset that is consumed with what I can get out of church or small group. A focus on having my needs met rather than meeting other needs.

Tom Stipe at the Xenos Summer Institute nailed it when he simplified this concept by saying consumerism, in the context of relationships, is when you are trying to extract happiness from one another. He said that mentality will kill a marriage, a friendship, a small group, and even a church.

Our goal in a small group, stated or not, should never be to extract happiness from one another. Rather Matt. 5:3 says, "Blessed (happy) are those who realize their need for him (God), for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them."

You can help your group overcome the consumerism mindset by training them to have a desperate need for God and constantly practice serving others! There's no better time to put this into action than right now. Plan a service project or help someone you know with a specific need or serve the poor.

posted by Dan Lentz on September 16, 2010 8:23 AM

Related Tags: Consumerism, Dan Lentz, servant

Comments

I can really relate to this. Sometimes I feel that I'm not happy within my small group unless we are studying something that I'm going to really enjoy. As a small group leader, I have to step back and look at others needs before my own, but at times it can be difficult. We usually settle things with a vote on what we're going to study next. Marriage is a difficult too. Pray! Pray! Pray! It requires me to DAILY put myself in check otherwise I'm just miserable in my thoughts of "why me". We've only been married for 7 years (the dreaded 7 year itch) and I love my husband madly, but marriage the most wonderful and difficult relationship. Again PRAY!

I like that quote very much: consumerism in small groups is attempting to extract happiness from other people.

So what is the opposite, or the proper mindset? To give happiness?

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