In the 1950s two brothers were running a car-hop restaurant inSan BernardinoCA. They considered how to cut cost in running that type of restaurant. They experimented with a simplified menu, streamlined the food preparation process, focused on more inexpensive food, and got rid of the servers on roller skates. The McDonald brothers became successful.
A salesman Ray Kroc, who sold milk-shake mixers, wondered why McDonald’s restaurant had purchased eight mixers as opposed to the normal one or two most customers purchased. He quickly saw the potential to take what he was seeing nationwide. He bought the rights to the franchise and we all know the rest of the story. Many others copied the fast-food model in various forms and the fast-food industry that now feeds about 25 percent of America each day. The world can eat three meals a day with speed, service, and somewhat appealing taste. The additional creation of the drive thru-window now makes the quick eating process part of the driving experience.
Both of these things have served to usher in a whole age that is characterized by a fast pace of life we all live everyday. There are great demands in culture today in which efficiency and production are highly sought after at break neck speed. It is a fast food way of life.
The sad thing is that this way of life also affects our spirituality and approach to church. Many people treat God and the church in the same way you treat the fast food restaurant. God is like the voice that comes through the speaker at the drive-thru. Instead of a relational way of life in which we walk with God or sit in His presence we simply “drive-thru” and make our request.
Many people are content to “drive thru” when they have a pressing need, financial or emotional problem, physical problems, or when they need to seek His will. God is simply one who works in a spiritual service industry in which He meets our needs and provides spiritual products. Even the Bible becomes a menu to provide quick answers for our problems or desires.
This is also the mentality towards church. Leaders now find themselves under pressure to meet the “felt needs” of people who are looking for a drive-thru spiritual experience. People are spiritual customers looking for the quickest solution at the lowest price/commitment. If one church doesn’t have it you can always find another drive-thru franchise down the street. It is a fast food consumer church mentality in which people want a quick religion to improve their life. In other words “what is in it for me” mentalities cause low cost, prepackaged words from God with a limited time commitment and non intrusive programs to be the norm in the church world today.
We have been shaped by the fast-food life causing the church to follow suite. The church tries to attract customers by offering a full menu of seeker friendly low cost programs that will cause a line of customers to come to their drive thru.
In Western societies, churches have shifted their focus from God to how God serves and meets our needs. Jesus Christ has been packaged as a choice in the spiritual food court used to meet the private needs of individuals. The result is a debased, compromised, sterilized Christianity, which misrepresents the Gospel.
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