The McDonaldization of the Church: Consumer Culture and the Church's Future

by John Drane. Smyth & Helwys Publishers, 2012.

John Drane uses the term, "McDonaldization," to describe contemporary church culture. The essential characteristics of McDonaldization are (1) efficiency, or smooth packaging of the gospel; (2) calculability, valuing quantity over quality; (3) predictability of worship and discipleship styles; and (4) leadership’s control over ministry and spirituality. While such characteristics have some benefit, Drane holds that they define our churches as essentially 'modern' institutions when many people have shifted into a 'post-modern' worldview.

Modern institutions, the author argues, are now viewed with skepticism—if not outright hostility—among many who are "unchurched." In response, Drane suggests that churches look for ways to release the themselves from bondage to rationalism (modernism’s underlying philosophy), through a revitalization of worship. Worship that is both biblical and culturally appropriate for our time must focus on community and mystery. To that end, Drane pleads for a more communal worship space, a rediscovery of movement in worship through dance and body movement, and greater emphasis on dramatic arts. Drane also urges churches to place a renewed focus on storytelling, believing that people's individual experiences with God have innate value, even if the one telling the story is not a Christian.

This book will challenge congregational leaders to move from a "pre-packaged" church to one that helps people of many different backgrounds to authentically wrestle with issues of faith.