If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. Galatians 5:15 (NIV)
“Feed me, Seymour,” is what the giant flesh eating plant declares in many scenes of the musical-to-movie Little Shop of Horrors. And, it is often what a worship leader or pastor hears sung from the pew. “Feed me, or I get up and take my measly tithes and offerings to the other church around the corner.” Today we must introduce zombie-style church shopping for the voracious appetite of loosely connected Christian consumers. Why, Christians can be zombies and the Bible makes this clear. So, If you want to be “fed” the word, soaked in worship, and sent out to rinse and repeat that each week, this guide is for you.
(Disclaimer: I am using zombies metaphorically with some absurdity to make a point.)
Here are six ways a zombie shops for a church home. Will he be at home in your church?:
1: Count the number of goosebumps moments.
Even zombies get goosebumps if the music sizzles, or if the sermon sparkles. Shiny and loud things attract zombies. All that rattling makes for a swarm of zombies. This is why for those who avoid zombies you must be very very quiet or they will come after you. If the leaders are chasing after the next program, slickest production, or focused on marketing to bring in crowds as opposed to building up people then zombies feel right at home.
2: Discover the cliques.
Zombies require others to feed on, so you have to know the landscape of small groups in a new church home. Popular worship stage people and small group attendees are great places to start. Make a friend who is a friend of a leader or pastor. You are in! Soon, you will find plenty of people to satisfy your feeding frenzy nature. The leaders in this kind of church rather it be like a high school run for class president than challenge their people to reach outside of themselves. After all, even a pastor needs his paycheck.
3: Numb the brain.
The only way to kill the urge of a zombie is to kill the brain. It is dangerous if you are in a church that requires you to think for yourself. You might as well invite a zombie hunter to deal your skull point blank shot with a 12-gage. Biblical literacy is not as important as experience or anything that says to turn off your brain. So, numb the brain you zombie and find a place that will think for you since the leaders here rather do all the work for their members and insist on spoon feeding the Bible.
4: Find the fresh meat.
There is always a new church or new pastor in town. This is where you will find the freshest meat and be able to infiltrate a church. Your past feeding habits will be unknown to this new situation. And, with a transition or new church they are too busy to notice the body count. The key is, leaders who are unaware will not likely spot you and you can catch them off guard. You can't hide for long, but there will always be a new place with fresh meat.
5: Its all business.
Yes, the building, the budget, and the butts and seats matter most at this prospective church. That is good news for you as a zombie. The leaders already see church as a group of walking dead, so you should feel right at home in a place that counts and measures these things over the personal and spiritual growth of their parishioners. After all, its not fashionable to invest in building up people unless they buy your books.
6. No second chances.
The best place for a zombie is in places where anyone who messes up as a Christian is ostracized and left out of the fold. The people left in this kind of church will be fresh for feeding. Imagine the landscape of a place where people hide their sins out of fear of reprisal and shunning? The ones who don't get caught end up being the prosectors, judge, and executioners. However, watch out. Even a zombie can be eaten in this kind of church!
Zombies have particular needs. What other behaviors of churches attract zombies?