We pour into our churches on Sundays, lock the doors, and sell sweets to one another. The sugar high exhilarates but by the parking lot the high subsides to a new low and the energy turns to lethargy. What’s worse is that our neighbors watch us come out looking more infirm than when we went in. And we wonder why they want nothing to do with us or our religion.
That first kind of Candy Store Church doesn’t have customers per se. The congregants don’t care to share, but keep the chocolates, toffee, and licorice pretty much in-house. Some of these churches will share their candy with the community, but the only way they know how to do it is to expect people to come to their store location during business hours. They make people wait till the precise Sunday morning moment when they crack the door open as they slip in. Visitors are welcome, but the window of time is brief. But if they’re lucky enough to get in, the best they can expect is to join the weekly in-house candy sale.
Some other Candy Store Churches really do want to expand their businesses. They advertise confections superior to the other stores in town. Their ingredients are sweeter and more natural than everyone else’s. They follow the recipe for the best candy more meticulously than their competitors. They engage in candy store wars, each one vying for a larger share of the market, while potential “customers” observe from outside.
Other sugar-laden congregations, instead of staying sequestered in their stores, actually venture out with sweets to share. They spread samples far and wide inviting the community in for more. Some of them sponsor tantalizing sales on their tasty goods. Other stores follow suit and candy store price wars ensue. What once was quite costly now hardly requires any investment at all. Cheap candy replaced expensive confections, which replaced actual nourishing food.
Some food for thought:
- Is yours merely a confectionary Christianity – sweet to the taste with a brief buzz to follow?
- In your locked sanctuaries are you just passing back and forth to one another what we already know to be true?
- Do you want your church to advance Christ’s influence in your community or are you just trying to beat out the competition?
- Are you affecting any actual net growth of the kingdom of God when you improve the packaging of your product only to induce people from the church down the street to shop at your church?
- Does what you produce, fawn over, and sell to one another generate anything but feeble health for you and anyone outside your store’s four walls?
- Do you have anything actually nourishing to offer starving people?
- Are you trying to enhance people’s lives and thus boost the quality of your community or do you feed them the diabetic’s worst nightmare diet just to entice them to come back to next week’s candy sale?
- When your sugar high abates does your sweetness of spirit linger, or are you even more irritable and ill-mannered candy salespersons than before?
- Shouldn’t your social, psychological, and spiritual health be as much of an advertisement as any claim you could make in defense of your product?
Comments – sweet, bitter, or otherwise?