CP Editor Note: This article was previously posted many years ago. The content, however, is still very relevant and brings attention to consumerism within the local church.

When people ask about the church, one of the first questions is, “What kind of ministries do you offer?” For better or for worse, the term “ministry” has come to mean, “a program that will meet my needs.”

For better or for worse, the term “ministry” has come to mean, “a program that will meet my needs.” Click To Tweet

This connotation is an unfortunate distortion of what Christian-ministry should be about.

My way around this misperception is to simply offer no ministries through our church. Here is how I describe it on our website.

“We do not offer any “ministries”; what we offer instead are opportunities.

Every person; young or old, male or female, rich or poor, healthy or sick, new or experienced, is gifted by God with something unique to offer.

  • If you are at a season in life where you need someone to serve you, serve your kids, or help your family, then check out the Opportunities we offer.
  • If you are in a season where you are ready to do something good for someone else, then we have Opportunities for you as well.
  • If you are looking for a list of ministries, then you won’t find any.
  • If you are looking for opportunities, then you are in the right place.”

Obviously, this is a bit of a word game, but my hope is that a small change like this will help people break bad habits and see the church differently.

In countering our consumer culture, I must emphasize that it is not wrong for people to come to the church in hopes of having their needs met. We live in a broken world with broken people, and, just like Jesus, we need to serve people by meeting their needs. However, we must not be satisfied to meet needs!!! We must strive to move people into a new season of life where they start serving others—even while they are being served.