Url: You moved from a career in advertising to pastor a Mennonite church. Is that reflective of a generation that's reacting against consumerism? Do you see a trend of younger people preferring smaller, less market driven, ministries?
Hipps: We are a consumer culture. I am a consumer. I understand that it's insidious and dangerous, but I am still a consumer. That's just how we're shaped. That's the cultural currency. And so mega-churches will thrive. They will always thrive. The emerging church used to say mega-churches are going away. They're not going away. They're predicated on the metaphor of consumerism. And as long as consumerism is the dominant mode of our culture mega-churches will always thrive. Some are saying that this next generation hates that. They don't. They love it.
So if the younger generation is not reacting against consumer church, what are they reacting to?
I make a distinction between three different kinds of consumerism. One is mainstream consumerism; the dominant hegemony that happens in our culture. Mainstream consumerism is mega. Walmart exemplifies this kind of consumerism, as does the mega-church. Boomer consumerism is mainstream consumerism.
Then you have counter consumerism, which is savviness. They are aware that Walmart and [Microsoft] Windows are trying to dominate, and they resist just like they resist mega-churches. But the odd thing is they're no less consumers. They're just counter consumers. A counter consumer buys Apple. It is absolutely consumer driven. They are consuming an identity that says we're different; an alternative from the rest of you.
It's youth rebellion. A reaction against what you're parents like.
Yep. Instead of Starbucks you'll go to the independent coffee shops. But it's ...