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The Wal-Mart Effect: Value

September 6, 2007
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We expect more. We expect a bonus size or buy one get one free. We expect something extra, our sense of measuring value has changed. We use to ask how long will it last, now we ask how much did it cost. If we don’t find it at the very lowest price we don’t think we have found value.

I was reading a web site today for a church plant that is about to have their first worship service. What struck me about their site was the focus on bigger and better. We will have more and better. Are they making a value statement?

Don’t we have a responsibility to step outside of this paradigm? Don’t we have an obligation to teach people that value is not more at a lower price but is instead long lasting?

You see this is something I found interesting about the Wal-Mart Effect. People save an average of $900 a year simply because they buy something at Wal-Mart versus another store. American’s had 900 more dollars in their pocket simply because they choose Wal-Mart, or do they?

In fact we really don’t. What they have found is that we don’t save that $900 we just spend it on more things, we just own more stuff.

One specific area the book looked at was underwear. In working with numbers the author points out that we save more on underwear because it is cheaper, Wal-Mart has done many things to ring savings out of how we buy underwear, but what is interesting is it just means we own more briefs.

What about church? More and better? Added value? Our kid’s program does x, y, and z. Our worship includes m, n, o, and p. Are we talking about a value statement? You can get more bang for your worship buck at X church?

I don’t know and I want to be careful because this can easily just seem petty.

Are we telling people you can get a better worship experience for the buck? Better lighting music and children’s programs all in the same hour you use to get boring old songs and hard pews? I don’t know for sure but I think it is an important question to ask ourselves. Have we bought the Wal-Mart value statement of more? I realize that nothing about these worship experiences is cheap, very professionally done, but is the idea the same, more for what you’re giving for?

What if in the end we are not seeing any more people who look like Jesus? What if like underwear people just own more?

That is why I think this bookends nicely with the discussion on Starbucks. They have an entirely different value statement. What about you, what value statement drives you spiritually?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 7, 2007 9:40 pm

    Darin,
    Great post.
    I believe the value we should be placing on is the not in the programs (don’t get me wrong certain ministries are a great outreach), but on God. We need to remember that is about the way we function as a body. Showing God’s love, mercy, grace, hope, help, to the world who is lost and needs Jesus. We need to place value on the lost. As far as going to Church maybe we should go with the idea of who can I go to encourage, who can I strengthen, who can I help in the body today. How can I serve and make a differnce in this church, instead of what can x,y, and z do more “I” and “me” and “my children”. We need to remember it is no longer “I” but “Christ”. Just my thoughts. Great thoughts as always Darin. I like the way you make me think. Keep it up!

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