Costco is the new KFC.

There was a day when you could find all the Baptists scarfing down drumsticks and mashed potatoes & gravy every Sunday afternoon at the Colonel’s place. If the Methodists ever wanted to launch a pre-emptive strike on the Baptists (“Immerse this, denominational no-gooders!”) they could just waltz on over to the KFC buffet and take care of business.

But there seems to be a new after-church trend, and it has “Costco membership card” written all over it. Church goers take to the cavernous warehouse on Sunday afternoons, perusing aisle after aisle of freebie samples. “Salmon dip? I’ll take summa that.” “Swedish meatballs? Yessir.” “Dinky cup of organic granola? What the heck.”

I find it fascinating that we (I) shamelessly approach the sample counter to wolf down things we have no intention of actually buying. Never in my life have I considered buying a six pound tiramisu from a warehouse club. But put a sample cup with a plastic serving stick in front of me, and I’ll send my nine year old back for seconds (“Turn your baseball cap around. She won’t recognize you.”).

It’s fitting that it seems to be church people who are invading SampleLand every Sunday afternoon, because it seems they’ve just come out of an environment where they’ve done the same. They pull freebies from aisle after aisle of ministry options, but never consider committing themselves.

They take advantage of “free childcare,” but never step up to invest in the next generation.

They grumble about being told where to park, but never consider donning an orange vest and stepping outside.

They’re quick to criticize the lack of options for a small group, but never think about opening their home to host one.

Please don’t misunderstand: this isn’t a Monday morning rant against consumerism within the church. I believe that one of the greatest joys of ministry is taking care of the consumers that God sends our way (I wrote an entire series on that here). But there comes a time when consumption has to end and commitment has to begin. There’s a time when we have to stop sampling the proverbial salmon and purchase the dad-gum fish.

The body of Christ known as the Church has to get better at this. If we are marching under the banner of Jesus, then we have to serve like Jesus. We have to consider others better than ourselves, get our hands dirty, invest. Give back. Serve.

If you’re a part of the Summit (specifically our Brier Creek campus) and you’re ready to jump in, then it’s go time. Get in touch with me at the “Make Contact” tab above. I’ll help you.

If you’re a part of another church, email your pastor. Call the church office. Shoot, just show up on Sunday and tell somebody you want to volunteer.

Life’s too short to survive on Swedish meatballs and somebody else’s ministry. Make it your own.