This year Coca-Cola stands out above all others as a company that seems, truly, to care about the people. Of course this is just an elaborate ruse as they watched their bottom line become a darker and darker shade of black.
When Coke put my friend's name on a bottle and told me to "Share a Coke" I really wanted to! When a girl in our Youth Ministry gave me a red-labelled bottle that had "Alex" written on it in the unmistakeable white font, well geez, I just felt downright important. They still care about getting their products onto shelves and then off those shelves as quickly as possible but they had made me believe they actually cared about me, the person, Alex.
Corporations all over are realizing if they want to stay afloat in this changing economy, they had better start showing some love for the people and make us think we matter more to them than selling a product.
The Church isn't much different.
Yet, as I read the scriptures I see Jesus choosing the person over the product again and again.
When challenged why he wasn't promoting the product [read: 'law' or 'gospel'] more by the Pharisees and Teachers of said product, Jesus got up in their grill and called them vipers, white washed tombs, and smelly stink-heads. (to paraphrase).
As churches focus on growing in size and influence they are in danger of seeing more value in maintaining corporate identity with a known product than sharing a meal (or Coke, for that matter) with the broken person seeking a place to belong.
There are so many correlations between the modern North American church and the corporate business world. Both venues promote many great leadership practices and methods of success. However, while a business will always be concerned about selling a product, we (the Church) must always be most concerned about loving a person.