Sitting across the lunch table from a pastor friend of mine as he shared with me his journey of the last several months was an interesting conversation to say the least. It was sort of like listening to a recording of several conversations my wife Jacque and I have had over the last few years. My friend pastors a 4 or 5 year old congregation that was planted out of another church in our city. When they began their intent was to be a church for the unchurched and therefore turned to some of the countries great mega churches as models. However, over the last few months he has felt a growing discomfort with that approach, and the consumer focused church in general.

There aren’t many churches, at least in Kansas City who are much more than a religious products warehouse store. Each week people come and get stocked up on supplies and then go back to their lives. If for some reason the church happens to be out of a product, or doesn’t carry what they want then it’s time to move on to a different church to check out their selection. Maybe their music will be more to our liking. Perhaps they really know how to worship God.

My friend recently preached a sermon series on being a SENT church. Since his people are used to coming to church for supplies the whole idea of the church being a sending station, a missional organization created for sending rather than consuming, was a foreign concept. He said that many weeks as he spoke he looked out at blank stares. For him this became more an indication of the need than a source of discouragement. I applaud his bold vision and his commitment to redefining church.

So what are your thoughts? Are most churches today religious products stores? Is this a legitimate approach to church? Where are you on your journey?