Gotta Have It
I consider myself a student of human behavior. I am fascinated by watching marketing techniques on culture and the effect that they have on people around me. I am so in tune that sometimes I even note the effect that they are having on me. As I try to guide people in my world, I often say to them or myself that there is a need to know the difference between a want and need. Marketers are geniuses in making that distinction difficult. Popeye’s Chicken has created a want with their marketing of a new chicken sandwich, but it is certainly not a need.
The real pressure comes on consumers when something become a trend. A trend is that moment when a product, a saying, a way of doing something seems to catch on with most of the culture. It can range from iphones to how someone wears their pants. Once a trend is in place, the difference between need and want seems to become even foggier.
Trends take place in the church world as well. It is at this point that as Christians we have a strong grasp on what we believe and why we believe it. We are forever hit with the newest and best way to do ministry, decorate our buildings, even run our meetings. I am not saying that all trends are wrong here, but I am saying that many fade away and do very little to change the Kingdom.
I am fine with riding the trends from time to time and enjoying them while they last. What I am not fine with is using them as substitutes for the things God has called us to all along. Trends cannot save a dying church or redeem a person in trouble. Trends cannot overcome internal problems. Trends cannot make mean people nice. Only the power of God can do these things and we need to make sure that our Churches are investing in that power if we want to offer a hope to our communities.