Here are a couple excerpts from my reading of Vintage Church: Timeless Truths & Timely Methods by Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshears (followed by some of my comments):
“Historian Mark Noll says, “Up to the early 1700’s, British Protestants preached on God’s plan for the church. From the mid-1700’s, however, evangelicals emphasized God’s plan for the individual”…Building on the modern devotion to the individual, modern Christianity in practice defined the entire purpose of the church in terms of the individual over and above the glory of God and benefit of the community of people…What developed was a view of individual Christians as consumers with felt needs and the church as the dispenser of religious goods and services.
…Because in this business model the customer is always right, the church tends to sand off any theological edges that consumers find too rough (e.g., sin, God’s wrath, hell). While not denying them, the church hides them so as not to deter or offend the individual customer who is shopping for pop psychology, self-help, and general spirituality.
…Furthermore, an entire industry outside of the church has come into existence for people who have forsaken church to instead only read Christian books, listen to Christian radio, watch Christian television, and download Christian vodcasts and podcasts for their personal benefit. While none of these things is bad, they are often abused by modern individual “Christians” with no intent of ever participating in a church or giving to or serving anyone but themselves” (pp 50-52).
I found these thoughts and insights to be quite true. Too often I have seen people live life by “church shopping” but never picking a church to make their home. Others live their “Christian lives” through technology (or as Driscoll points out later when talking about the “postmodern Christian” they call themselves a church by using that technology & forsaking assembly in person with Christians). What I have found scary is that while some “moderns” may not like hearing about the “theologically rough” aspects of the faith, many “postmoderns” have taken it to another level by denying them (even some preachers…even some popular preachers).
To me, both the modern & postmodern would receive much help by finding a church home with healthy biblical teaching and commiting to meeting and serving there. In this way the individual can receive help in their felt needs but also realize God’s plan for the church and the big picture view God has for His church.