11 Nov Discussion Guide: The People of Mosaic Week 2
In case you missed the Live Big reveal this past Sunday, here’s the recap video to bring you up to speed.
This week we continue our series titled The People of Mosaic. We will be talking about, and taking a look at, the collective impact we can make when we give big, serve joyfully, and love passionately as Jesus-people. What if we became a church that was known as much by our lavish generosity as we were by our Biblical theology? How might God use us to change our city, our state, our nation, and even our world? Let’s talk about it and see what happens.
What do you think is the number one word sociologists use to describe American culture?
Most sociologists describe American culture as primarily consumeristic. They don’t necessarily use that in a negative sense, but simply to state the fact that Americans, more than most other peoples around the world, operate from a consumeristic mindset.
Ed Stetzer, Author & Missiologist
We find ourselves in a culture that defines our relationships and actions primarily through a matrix of consumption. As the philosopher, Baudrillard explains, “Consumption is a system of meaning.” We assign value to ourselves and others based on the goods we purchase and how useful they are to us. One’s identity is now constructed by the clothes you wear, the vehicle you drive, and the music on your iPod. In short, you are what you consume. When this understanding of the world and self is brought into Christian faith, two very damaging things occur. First, consumerism reduces God from a deity to a commodity. His value, like everything else, is determined by His usefulness to the user (i.e. the Christian).
Secondly, consumerism reduces Jesus Christ from Lord to a label. When the early Christians declared “Christ is Lord” they were subverting the popular belief of the day that “Caesar is Lord.” It was a proclamation of Jesus’ authority and power over all things, and it was a declaration of allegiance to our heavenly King. But in consumerism, the customer is king, not Jesus. As a result, Christianity becomes just one more brand we integrate and display along with Gap, Apple, and Starbucks to express our identity. So Christians no longer carry an expectation of obedience and allegiance to Christ, but rather the perpetual consumption of Christian merchandise and experiences.
So then, what does it mean to be a consumer?
When is it good to have a consumeristic mindset? When is it not good to have a consumeristic mindset?
How can a consumeristic mindset affect a church community?
1 Peter 2:4-5, 9-12
As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
9But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
11Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
In our culture today, the idea of church shopping and hopping is common. What does it take for us to go against the grain of that and become the people God is calling us to be?
Where does the power to live that way come from?
How do we overcome the powers of darkness that fight against who God is calling us to be?
What might we have to give up? What might we need to give? What might it require of us?
What’s it worth to you to see God do what He wants to do at Mosaic? What are we willing to go through, to put up with?