In-N-Out Church. . .

So many of us have come to love In-n-Out Burger. I wish there was one near us here in Pennsylvania! Do you know the story behind how the burger chain got its name? The first In-N-Out Burger was opened in Baldwin Park, California in 1948. Newlyweds Harry and Esther Snyder, founders of In-N-Out Burger, wanted to offer people a way of getting food without having to take the time to park. They wanted people to be able to get in and out as quickly as possible. It was all about convenience. An amazing idea that has grown into something iconic.

This morning, I got to thinking about the burger chain and my own life/ministry as I read this prayer in the daily devotional book “Seeking God’s Face”: “Our only God and Father, I’m tempted to make church a consumer thing, to think of it as a vendor of spiritual goods and religious services that keep me happy and satisfied. Remind me that I share in Jesus through this body, the church, a covenant community where I have obligations to others. Make me ready to serve others for the joy of Jesus. Amen.”

It makes me wonder. . . Has the church (and even the youth group) become “In-N-Out Church” for us in our consumer oriented culture? And, have we catered to this idea rather than working to push-back with the truth of the high and costly life of discipleship? Are we anesthetizing folks with the convenience of what they want? Or, are we waking them up with the deep and committed costliness of what they’ve been called to?

These are the kind of status-quo-upsetting questions we need to be constantly asking, lest we allow ourselves to fall into the trap of meeting consumer demand rather than Christ-honoring directives.

3 thoughts on “In-N-Out Church. . .

  1. Yes, I love this! We as church leaders need to do as it says in 2 Timothy 4:2, we have to correct, rebuke and encourage; otherwise we are just catering to our people as if they have joined a social club. Following Jesus costs us a lot, but it’s worth every bit of lack of sleep, money, time and friendships and family who don’t understand us.

  2. Walt, that was excellent and exactly what I needed to hear. As a church secretary I see that serving others is really losing it’s importance among many believers.

  3. Thanks for writing this article! Consumerism is in the church. Many people come to church to get their weekly dose of spiritual “feel-good”…..nothing too heavy and nothing too long….in-n-out…untouched and unaffected by the encounter. Box checked.
    Consequently, many pastors tailor and present their messages to meet the capricious desires and sensitive feelings of their congregants by only preaching the pretty uplifting parts of scripture and leaving out the parts that confront, convict, correct, or chastise toward Christian maturity and growth. In this case, messages have to be relatively quick and superficial so as not to offend….in-n-out …unscathed and unchanged by the encounter. And so many churches look just like the world. Ya know…I feel The Lord has used COVID to close the doors of churches (among other things) so we can shake off church consumerism, and reflect, re-evaluate, reset and hopefully re-engage the world in a way, as a Body, that pleases and glorifies Him…faithfully serving others by and in truth with love…and past conveniece. In-n-Out Church ain’t it.

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