If you're in the mood for something provocative, click here for a rant from an American blog about how much Christians spend on marketing. It kind of continues the theme from yesterday about where the church's resources go. The blog argues that consumerism has become a normal way of expressing discipleship: instead of doing what Jesus did, we buy books about it, listen to CD's singing it, and go to conferences. Christian marketing fuels this - just look at how many different formats any popular Bible is available in, or series of books by popular authors which should have stopped several issues ago. Remember WWJD? Prayer of Jabez? The Power of a Praying wife/husband/teen/child/grandparent/baby/dog/garden ornament/chocolate fondue/anything really ?
As someone who has bought many more books than I've ever read, I found it quite convicting...
If you're in the mood for something practical, click on this link to the Exeter Network Church site. I discovered this today - it sounds like a really interesting and creative church. 2 things out of many aspects of their life which seemed really good:
- '4mation groups' - groups of 4 who meet for a limited period to help each other in discipleship. The link above takes you to a card which group members print out and fill in. It helps people to think about how they'd like to grow and develop as disciples, and provides an easy format for a) remembering what you're trying to do b) being accountable to others about it. In the jargon this is 'intentional discipleship' - i.e. setting about something with a deliberate end in mind. Good principle, applied too rarely perhaps?
- Blurred Edge Sunday: 4th Sunday of the month where no central events are held, and the church is encouraged to engage with the community. And I don't just like the idea because it gives me a Sunday off from running church services.