All posts from “consumerism”

What Amazon Is Priming Us For

December 4, 2013 1:08 PM

Leaders: what kind of culture are you fostering in your ministry? In a world ever more primed for speed and convenience, should the church lean into the trend or cling to more grounded values? Engage this piece from Craig...

Risky Business (Part 2)

March 14, 2012 12:00 AM

Read part 1. So what is the solution to the captivity of ministry leaders to business models? I've got a theory: to the extent that the church does not know its Bible, really know the Bible, the more it seeks...

Risky Business (Part 1)

March 12, 2012 12:00 AM

I first discovered Jim Gilmore when his book, The Experience Economy, was handed to me by a nationally known church consultant in 2002. If I wanted my church to grow, he explained, I had to employ the marketplace strategies in...

Ur Video: Dave Kraft on Celebrity Pastors

February 29, 2012 12:00 AM

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Part 2: The Evangelical Industrial Complex & the Rise of Celebrity Pastors

February 21, 2012 12:00 AM

Read Part 1. This market-driven cycle of megachurches, conferences, and publishers results in an echo chamber where the same voices, espousing the same values, create an atmosphere where ministry success becomes equated with audience aggregation. (Thankfully there are outliers like...

The Evangelical Industrial Complex & the Rise of Celebrity Pastors (Pt. 1)

February 20, 2012 12:00 AM

Last week Bob Hyatt wrote about the temptations created by the celebrity pastor culture we live in and the harm it causes to our souls. He's not the only one talking about the issue. Both Relevant Magazine and the Together...

Exorcise Wall Street

February 15, 2012 12:00 AM

There was an occasion in the 60s where a bunch of hippies surrounded the Pentagon and tried to exorcise the demons. It didn’t work. Despite their valiant effort, not much happened that day. Nevertheless, I am one of those Christians...

Skye Jethani: The Wrong War on Christmas

December 19, 2011 12:00 AM

A few years ago I was walking through Woodfield Mall, the largest one in Illinois, just before Christmas. I was disappointed to see that Santa’s grotto, where children waited in line for a brief one-on-one consultation with Mr. Claus, had...

Ur Video: The Best (Or Worst) Prayer Ever?

August 3, 2011 12:00 AM

Pastors are often asked to offer a prayer at public events. But what sort of prayer is best for these gatherings outside the church? Pastor Joe Nelms has been getting a lot of press for the opening prayer he offered...

Do Christianity & Capitalism Clash?

April 21, 2011 12:00 AM

A poll conducted by Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with Religion News Service was released this week that finds more Americans (44 percent) believe Christian values are at odds with capitalism than believe they are compatible (36 percent). However,...

Skye Jethani: Redefining Radical (Part 2)

April 14, 2011 12:00 AM

Read Part 1 of “Redefining Radical.” Consider who is celebrated in most churches. Typically it is the person who is engaged in “full time Christian work”--the pastor or missionary, or people who pursue social causes that result in a big...

Skye Jethani: Redefining Radical (Part 1)

April 11, 2011 12:00 AM

“How radical do I have to be?” the suburban mom asked. She had recently read a number of Christian books decrying the self-centered nature of much of the American church. The authors had apparently had enough of the consumer orientation...

Give to Uncle Sam What is Uncle Sam's

March 21, 2011 12:00 AM

Imagine what would happen if a massive popular movement of ordinary Americans decided to voice their concern about military spending – by withholding $10.40 from their 1040 tax forms this year? A simple, small, symbolic, but concrete gesture of protest...

The Christian Industrial Complex (Part 2)

December 17, 2010 12:00 AM

(Read part 1) In light of all the exciting movements addressing world hunger and peace, many with Christians in the forefront, I really believe Christian stores should be pioneers and innovators, rather than chameleons. Selling fair trade coffee is a...

The Christian Industrial Complex (Part 1)

December 15, 2010 12:00 AM

I went into a Christian bookstore the other day and was surprised to see some of the most prominent display space given over to military flags for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. These flags, and a vast...

Furtick Uses 24-Hour Sermon to "Pimp" Book

September 27, 2010 12:00 AM

On September 21-22, Steven Furtick preached for 24 hours for an online audience of thousands. The senior pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, focused his hermeneutic marathon on the topic of “audacious faith.” And it’s not a coincidence...

Multi-Ethnic Novelty

July 21, 2010 12:00 AM

You can learn a lot about Evangelical Christianity by going into a typical Christian bookstore in a shopping mall. You’ll find scores of how-to, self-help, and church growth books. I doubt you will find many books on reconciliation. While the...

Ur Video: Rick McKinley on the Christmas Story

December 23, 2009 12:00 AM

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And the Winners Are...

September 3, 2009 12:00 AM

Last month we invited Urbanites to answer this question: What is Consumer Christianity? Your response has been surprising and creative. Some submitted definitions, others sent in pictures that made us laugh and grieve. A few even composed songs and lyrics....

Ur Video: Chris Seay on Consumerism

August 11, 2009 12:00 AM

Chris Seay is one of the featured speakers at the Story conference in October. Learn more and register for the event at www.storychicago.com....

What is Consumer Christianity?

August 10, 2009 12:00 AM

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Skye Jethani: The Daisy Cutter Doctrine

April 16, 2009 12:00 AM

Today over twenty blogs are participating in a book tour for Skye Jethani's The Divine Commodity. The fact that Jethani is a card-carrying Urthling is why we felt the Ur audience should participate in the blog tour as well. Below...

Divine Agnosticism

February 25, 2009 12:00 AM

The following is an excerpt from chapter two of Skye Jethani's new book The Divine Commodity: Discovering a Faith Beyond Consumer Christianity (Zondervan, 2009). My brother and sister-in-law took me to a concert at the Hollywood Bowl while I was...

Advent...the Conspiracy

December 18, 2008 12:00 AM

Our friends at Advent Conspiracy have produced a truly thought provoking video for this season. Is your church participating in this campaign? I'd love to hear about your experiences. If not, how would people react in your church if you...

The Cult of Mac

October 30, 2008 12:00 AM

by Skye Jethani Many people feel that the greatest threat to Christianity today is postmodernity. Others zero in on relativism. Some believe the enemy is secular humanism. And others believe Islamic fascism is the boogey man. I disagree. In my...

Cartoon: Church-A-Plex

June 30, 2008 12:00 AM

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Tuning Out Christian Radio

June 27, 2008 12:00 AM

It's official: I'm tuning out of Christian radio. When some of the Christian radio stations in my area shifted their play lists from Southern gospel, country Christian and syndicated preaching, I took notice. I was thrilled to have airwave access...

Top 10 Posts of 2007

December 27, 2007 12:00 AM

A year ago on this blog it seemed hard to imagine that 2007 would surpass 2006 in traffic and participation, but that is exactly what happened. Thanks to the thousands of Ur-banites that read this blog everyday and drive the...

Advent Conspiracy Videos

December 20, 2007 12:00 AM

Earlier this month Skye Jethani posted about the obstacles we face during the Advent season, and his church’s attempts to overcome the busyness and materialism of the season. Last week, David Swanson reported on the new film What Would Jesus...

The Rise of the New Bishops- Part 2

December 18, 2007 12:00 AM

In part 1, Chad Hall questioned the emergence of popular young church leaders. Through their books, conferences, and postcasts these "new bishops" are attracting a great deal of attention. Hall wondered if their status was the result of their genuine...

The Rise of the New Bishops

December 14, 2007 12:00 AM

After reporting on Rob Bell's tour last month, Chad Hall has been wondering about the influence of young Christian leaders like Bell. Are these "new bishops" the result of a generation searching for leaders outside traditional church structures, or are...

The Church of Stop Shopping

December 11, 2007 12:00 AM

Last winter Pastor Dave Swanson was Out or Ur's man on the street at the Sundance Film Festival. His reports sparked an excellent discussion about the impact of films on culture and theology. Swanson is back with a review of...

The Obstacles of Advent

December 3, 2007 12:00 AM

Last week my wife and I got all of our Christmas shopping done - in one day. This blitzkrieg approach has become a tradition for us. It's like pulling a tooth; better to have the whole thing out at once....

Out of Context: Rick Warren

October 10, 2007 12:00 AM

"The American church as a whole needs to move from selfish consumerism to unselfish contribution. Those are poles apart. To start with a woman who's most interested in how many diamonds she's got in her tennis bracelet, and move her...

The Divine Commodity Contest

July 7, 2007 4:20 PM

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Out of Context: Shane Hipps

July 3, 2007 12:00 AM

"I believe certain technologies preclude incarnational ministry. And the reason I believe that is because God became embodied in Jesus. And embodiment means human physical touch; presence. And there are certain technologies that disembody us, like video." -Shane Hipps serves...

Vintage Consumerism

May 29, 2007 12:00 AM

We caught up with Dan Kimball, pastor of Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, California, and author of They Like Jesus but Not the Church (Zondervan, 2007), at a conference where he was talking to other leaders about consumerism and...

Lights…Camera…MISSION!

May 1, 2007 12:00 AM

Films have been a popular subject on Out of Ur. That might seem odd for a blog devoted to issues facing church leaders. But in recent years films have become a testing ground for evangelical engagement with popular culture -...

Dancing with Consumerism

April 20, 2007 12:00 AM

Url: You moved from a career in advertising to pastor a Mennonite church. Is that reflective of a generation that's reacting against consumerism? Do you see a trend of younger people preferring smaller, less market driven, ministries? Hipps: We are...

Have We Become Crypto-Christians?

January 5, 2007 12:00 AM

To my knowledge this blog hasn't tackled too many issues of church history, so this post may be more "Out of Place" than "Out of Ur." Still, I have found that the past often illuminates my understanding of my faith...

Product Placement in the Pews—Part 2

December 22, 2006 12:00 AM

The Wharton School of Business has posted an article on their online journal, Knowledge@Wharton, about the growing trend of marketing products through churches. In part 2 of the article we hear from some critics of linking business practices and ministry...

Product Placement in the Pews

December 20, 2006 12:00 AM

A reoccurring issue on Out of Ur has been the effort of secular corporations to market to and through the church. But Leadership hasn't been the only one to notice the trend. The Wharton School of Business recently published an...

Who Will Save Thanksgiving?

November 22, 2006 12:00 AM

Wal-Mart announced this week they will return the word "Christmas" to their seasonal greetings. Good move, especially given their faithful hick-hop constituency. No more generic salutations that so many of us carped about last year, when many merchants dropped Christ...

Burned by Branding

November 20, 2006 12:00 AM

Believe it or not, not everyone loves Starbucks. The Wall Street Journal's Janet Adamy has written about the growing resistance the Seattle-based coffee cartel is facing in many communities. The issue - Starbucks ignores local culture in favor of maintaining...

Cars, Cup Holders, & Complaining

October 20, 2006 12:00 AM

Chrysler has announced it will be showcasing their new cars and SUVs at mega-churches in a strategy to reach more African-American consumers. Chevy used a similar marketing ploy back in 2002 with their trucks. Remember "Chevrolet presents the Come Together...

The Myth of Expository Preaching (part 3): responding to Scripture as a community

July 28, 2006 12:00 AM

In his final post outlining an alternative to expository preaching, David Fitch invites us to think differently about how we respond to Scripture. Rather than three alliterated application points, why not a liturgical response? And instead of preaching that targets...

The Myth of Expository Preaching (part 2): proclamation that inspires the imagination

July 25, 2006 12:00 AM

David Fitch is back to explain why he believes expository preaching is a myth that is hindering the full potential of the pulpit. In part one of his post Fitch said expository preaching has led to the commodification of Scripture....

From Lord to Label: how consumerism undermines our faith

July 10, 2006 12:00 AM

Christian critiques of consumerism usually focus on the dangers of idolatry - the temptation to make material goods the center of life rather than God. This, however, misses the real threat consumerism poses. My concern is not materialism, strictly speaking,...

The Myth of Expository Preaching & the Commodification of the Word

July 3, 2006 12:00 AM

The summer issue of Leadership, due in mailboxes soon, will focus on the impact of consumerism on our faith and ministries. To get the conversation started, in this post, pastor/professor and regular Ur contributor David Fitch discusses how expository preaching...

The Second Coming of Superman: Finally, a "Christian" movie not marketed to churches

June 19, 2006 12:00 AM

Thank you Hollywood. Thank you Warner Brothers. Thank you director Brian Singer. Thank you for leaving me and my church alone! Next week the highly anticipated film "Superman Returns" debuts in theaters. Early reviews are incredibly positive, and some are...

Is Church Growth the Highway to Hell?

June 9, 2006 12:00 AM

The summer issue of Leadership, arriving in mailboxes in July, focuses on the impact of consumerism on ministry. Some people have equated the church growth movement with the rise of "consumer Christianity." Others believe the church growth philosophy has brought...

Spencer Burke on the Church that Consumerism Built--and Why I Fled

May 3, 2006 11:38 AM

The upcoming issue of Leadership deals with "Consumerism and the Church It Creates." We asked Spencer Burke to write about his journey from being a megachurch pastor to spiritual guide of an online community (TheOOZE.com). Below is a brief excerpt....

The Passion Reloaded: is the silver screen really an outreach silver bullet?

April 10, 2006 12:00 AM

Two years ago, Mel Gibson's film, The Passion of the Christ, was marketed heavily to church leaders as "perhaps the best outreach opportunity in 2,000 years." Gibson stunned Hollywood naysayers by pocketing over $600 million as The Passion became the...

Pimping Jesus: consumerism and the red-light gospel

March 17, 2006 12:00 AM

Jesus' image can now be found on every imaginable commodity from t-shirts to poker chips. But has our material culture made Jesus' invitation to "new life" itself into a consumable product? Jonathan Yarboro, a church planter from Boone, North Carolina,...

Tivo Tyranny and Preaching to Consumers

February 16, 2006 3:05 PM

I just read about the latest form of oppression: Tivo Tyranny. It's the burden of having recorded too many TV shows, and now finding there's no way you're going to be able to watch them all. Tivo has a feature...

Closed for Christmas 3: Scot McKnight's Good Will Toward Megachurches

December 20, 2005 12:00 AM

Advent 2005, rather than a season of peace and good will, may be remembered as a month when cantankerous Christians did battle with the culture and one another. This was the year a Florida church spread Christmas spirit with a...

Closed for Christmas 2: The Megachurch Response

December 15, 2005 1:41 PM

By now it seems everyone has formed an opinion about the decision of megachurches throughout the country to not hold services on Sunday, December 25th. Some see it as proof that the American church has surrendered to consumerism. Others believe...

Closed for Christmas: The Ghost of Christmas Past

December 9, 2005 12:04 AM

The media frenzy over the decision of megachurches throughout the country to close their doors on Christmas day doesn't seem to be dying down, and numerous articles are framing the action as unprecedented. But is that accurate? Although likely unaware...

Marketing Narnia 2: Is That a Mouse in Your Pulpit?

December 6, 2005 2:46 PM

Just when I thought commercialism in the church couldn't get any worse I read this from the Philadelphia Inquirer: Attention, pastors: You have just four weeks remaining to work a lion, a witch or a wardrobe into your next sermon....

Marketing Narnia: Is the Church Being Used?

November 3, 2005 5:07 PM

The following is by Abram Book, Leadership editorial resident, who reported the nationwide Narnia promotion campaign that rolled out last month in Wheaton, Illinois, now the home of C.S. Lewis's wardrobe. OK, one of several such wardrobes. This one has...

Flowbee, Jesus, and Me: A Catalyst Echo

October 21, 2005 12:19 PM

My hair stylist cancelled my appointment yesterday because of a schedule conflict, and for a few minutes afterward I searched the Internet for the Flowbee, the vacuum-attachment haircutting system that lets you give yourself a buzz cut. (I really, really...

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