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Summary: The currently popular idea of the "church of the individual" would have the apostles spinning in their graves - the local church is critical for the making of disciples and the idea of a have it your way church is in no way a good thing

Burger King Church

(Have it your way)

TCF Sermon

January 11, 2009

Open with Youtube video of BK commercial – commercial jingle sings: Have it your way.

We’ve just finished the football bowl season – and you may have noticed that every bowl has a sponsor these days.

It’s not the Sugar Bowl – it’s the Allstate Sugar Bowl. It’s not the Fiesta Bowl – it’s the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. It’s not even the national championship game – it’s the FedEx BCS National Championship.

In keeping with this trend, this morning’s sermon is sponsored by Burger King – the Burger King TCF Sunday Sermon.

Just kidding. And no, I own no stock in Burger King. Speaking of just kidding, did you notice last week, as Jim shamed me for using Powerpoint in my sermons, he showed a video from the Truth Project in which the speaker was, doing what? Using Powerpoint.

Now, back to our sponsor.

Burger King’s slogan Have It Your Way, was created in 1974. Some of you who are that ancient may remember the commercial we saw, as well as many others based on this theme in the ‘70s. It was a response to the success of McDonalds. Burger King was number 2, and McDonalds led the fast food burger wars.

So, bright advertising executives tried to hit on something that was viewed as a weakness in the McDonald’s system. When you ordered a burger at McDonalds, you got what they gave you. You could certainly ask to leave off the mustard, or the pickles, but there was a sense when you did that, that this was a pain for them to do.

But not at Burger King. This became their theme, and it’s a theme they still use today, more than 30 years later. Anyone remember the rest of the little jingle from this theme?

Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders won’t upset us, all we ask is that you let us serve it your way. Have it your way....Have it your way at Burger King

Last week, Jim quoted George Barna. He’s a Christian researcher and author, who’s probably among the most quoted people in churches in America.

Through the years, many of his studies have been very interesting and revealing, in noting trends among Christians. So, let me quote Mr. Barna, too. I hate to be left out of a quotefest. Quoting from the same book Jim referenced last week, Barna says he expects to see Christians in the immediate future:

"choosing from a proliferation of options, weaving together a set of favored alternatives into a unique tapestry that constitutes the personal ’church’ of the individual."

How do you like that phrase? The personal church of the individual! And isn’t it interesting to see that quote alongside the Burger King jingle?

I imagine the apostle Paul hearing this and spinning in his grave. One reviewer called this statement, “the personal church of the individual”:

"the most mind-spinning phrase ever written about the church of Jesus Christ. Could it be that we evangelical Protestants, who have done more to fragment Christendom than any other group, are now taking that to the logical extreme: a church at the individual level, each person creating a personal "church" experience? At any other point in church history, "personal church" would be nonsensical. In today’s America, it’s the Next Big Thing." Kevin Miller, Christianity Today

In other words, Christians are leaving churches so they can have it their way. Western Christianity is becoming the Burger King Church. If you think that’s too strong an interpretation of what Barna wrote, let’s try this quote from the same book.

He illustrates his findings and ideas with two fictional characters who, he says:

"eliminated church life from their busy schedules." Why? They did not find a ministry "that was sufficiently stimulating" and "their church, although better than average, still seems flat."

I guess it’s just too bad for any little local church, which can’t possibly be all things to all people, that some Christians today insist on having what Barna calls a “unique, highly personalized church experience.”

A related side note: If Barna was just reporting on these trends, that would be one thing, and probably helpful in understanding this trend. But he’s not just reporting his research – in his book Revolution he’s advocating this trend as the best way for Christians to live a life devoted to Christ.

As Jim noted last week, these revolutionaries are generally devoted to the Lord, despite the fact that they’re abandoning the local church. But Barna writes: “My goal is to help you be a revolutionary.”

Let me tell you, this is a disturbing trend – and it’s not in any way a good thing, as Barna asserts. And as Jim noted last week, it’s one of the ways the enemy uses to separate us from God, regardless of how well-intentioned by some that this exodus from the local church might be.

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