Just How Contagious is Consumption?

Some mind boggling stats here from mindfully.org*

  • Americans constitute only 5% of the world’s population but consume 24% of the world’s energy.
  • On average as Americans we throw out 200,000 tons of edible food every day. Two Hundred Thousand.  Tons.
  • As an American I consume 159 gallons of water every day, while more than half of the worlds population lives on 25 gallons. Even worse, worldwide 1 in 9 people lack access to a clean water source.

Those are some staggering thoughts on our culture of consumption. Most people I associate with are rabid consumers without even knowing it. I know I am. My perfectly good iPhone 4 is now not so perfectly good after last week, and I am mentally working on a plan to buy a new iPhone 5 pretty much 24/7. (Please don’t tell my wife)

The fact is that we are consumers… even in the church.

Consumption is contagious. We consume by association consciously and unconsciously. When one of my best friends bought an iPhone5 at 2:00 am last week, it wrecked havoc on my desire to have one too. When a guest comes to the church and does not sense that the people who consider themselves members are engaged in more than just attendance, instinctively they will not feel a desire to either.

So for campus pastors building a multisite core team, or church planters building a launch team, to know that consumption is contagious means that everyone on that team should have a place to serve. There simply is no room for anyone on the core team just wanting the convenience of a campus closer to their house or a church with cooler music.

In the early days of a campus launch, every guest that walks in the door needs to sense that the people who make up this church are engaged in more than just attending it. Your mission will be more caught than taught, and as the campus leader your missional words will be drowned in a sea of inactivity if you do not steward the service of the core team.

It takes boldness to invite people to stay at the main campus, or at their current church, if they will not serve in the new work. It takes courage to not pad the numbers those early weeks and ask everyone to wait a few months before coming out to “see what’s going on” at your campus. But in the long run, there is no other way to fight the mindset of consumption that trickles into the church from our culture.

Consumption is contagious… so is Mission. Which will your team catch? 



*I am not affiliated with mindfully.org and cannot attest to, affirm or condone any content on their site.

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