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The McDonaldisation Of Church

Posted on: February 25, 2008

mcdonalds churchI’ve been thinking a lot lately about the McDondaldisation of church. At Park Road we’re currently doing the 40 days of community which is the follow-up to Rick Warren’s 40 Days Of Community which we did at Park Road 2 years ago.

For those who don’t know the 40 days series are written by Rick Warren and consist of Sunday Sermons revolving around a particular weeks theme, home groups being based on the theme too, usually with a mini sermon by Mr Warren himself via video ad then there’s a daily reading.

In fairness it’s probably no different in principal to other ready to use church material such as Alpha…of course like all of this it needs adapting, for example Rick Warren’s sermon outlines are 23 page scripts with lots of americanisms. As a principal I can see how the 40 days of purpose have changed Park Road for the better, we now have house groups (which were launched through the 40 days of purpose) and some people entered more into the fellowship as a result, and the same way I suspect that the 40 days of community will do a similar thing….however the more of these things we have the more franchised a church seems to be.

You can go to any McDonald’s in the world and essentially buy the same thing (I purposely refrain from using the word food) and my fear is that church will become the same, yes perhaps it will be contextualised for a situation however surely Paul’s letters help us to realise that every church is different and needs different things addressing….otherwise would he not have sent the same letter to all?

I’m torn between being pro these series that any church can use and being anti…and I think much like youth work resources it depends how they’re used. I think they encourage us to be lazy…however at the same time from what Tim has said it’s far more difficult adapting Rick’s huge script than writing a sermon, so perhaps it gets more preparation. The same way with Alpha essentially it’s a good thing and has been a huge success however when it becomes the ‘be all and end all’ of outreach for a church it loses it’s purpose in my opinion.

At the end of the day series can help a church look forward, start new things and be challenged, it can provide excitement about church, encouraging people to read daily, or come to church more regually…but I think we need to seriously personalise things like this to the individual church and congregations needs.

Comments are appreciated….