Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Wal-Martization of the Local Church

A couple of weeks ago I was at a meeting where Leonard Sweet was speaking. He mentioned the Wal-Martization of the local church. I had not heard that term before, but it seemed eerily appropriate for what I have been seeing lately. For instance, last week I was visiting good prospects (i.e., they had already visited our church and had a good experience there) for the large church of which I am a member. (I am not on staff there.) I happened to visit a young couple that has several young children. They are the type of family that any SBC church would want to have. The woman said I looked familiar, and we soon discovered that she had heard me preach about six months ago at the small church she had been attending. I began to feel guilty about inviting them back to our large church because I remembered that the small church had very few children. I decided, however, that the couple has every right to take their children to a church where there are excellent children's programs that will help in their spiritual education. I saw the woman last Sunday, and she told me that her oldest child had made a profession of faith in one of the morning worship services. I guess I still have mixed feelings about this. I feel sorry for the small church that the family left behind. It seems to be mostly composed of senior adults, as are many of our SBC churches. I rejoice, however, that the family has found a church home where there are excellent children's programs that will help in the evangelization and spiritual growth of the children.