Amazon announced a new product and service to their line-up: Amazon Key. Amazon describes their new product as the way to, “get your Amazon packages securely delivered just inside your front door. Plus, grant access to the people you trust, like your family, friends, dog walker, or house cleaner.” This is one of many products that have taken over our lives by Amazon or also known as the Amazonification of retail… and life.
Amazon has started putting large retailers out of business. With their free two-day delivery with Amazon Prime, tablets that push notifications of sales, Echo devices that can order Amazon products, and other devices that can order via their website, Amazon has put their delivery method in the hands and heads of people around the world. Amazon has created a virtual e-commerce ecosystem that we can’t escape. Now, Amazon is testing drones to deliver products faster. Amazon not only sells products but now services of professional cleaning, installation, plumbing and more on their website.
This is a takeover of Amazon’s brand force. It’s the Amazonification of life: a total and complete delivery system of goods, services, and information. Amazon has disrupted the way people get their “stuff”.
Amazon’s virtual staying power taps into something that is happening in every facet of our lives: virtual delivery and engagement of life… including our faith. Amazon shows us how Christianity has been disrupted by factors and forces of our technological and mobile connected world.
What I love about Amazon (Full disclosure: I’m a Prime Member since 2007) is that I don’t have to leave my house to buy just about anything: clothes, food, socks, medicine, electronics, and even batteries. Amazon is the modern Sears Roebuck catalog. Amazon has everything. Why should I go to a store when I can get it via Amazon?
Much like Amazon, people have now realized: Why do I need a church or congregational Christianity when I can get it elsewhere? It’s what I call the Amazonification of Christianity. The corner church used to be the localized expression of Christianity through community, fellowship, worship, learning, and serving. Now, those things can be had elsewhere. Why should I go to church to get community? I get community from the parents on my kid’s soccer team, at the local bar, on Facebook or social media, on my phone via texting, and at Starbucks. Why should I go to church to learn more about God when I can Google or Wikipedia information about the Bible? Why be connected to a religious cause when I can do a 5K run for a community cause?
This is the new reality of Christianity: people can get what the church used to deliver by other means.
At the same time, people are craving local community but can’t find it at a church. Many local churches aren’t really good at connection and community. New people in the church are immediately put on a committee or board, weighed down by burnout because of a church system that doesn’t, and are seen as a solution to the church’s lack of people resources. That doesn’t inspire people. Churches are called to form meaningful relationships with people in and outside of the church. The purpose of these relationships should be to connect others to one another and to Christ. Churches are called to make Christ visible through worship and serving others without the expectation that those outside the church will join the membership.
The key for Christianity is to see that the church building is not the means of delivery of spirituality and religious faith. Christianity needs to see that the delivery of our faith is through the people. Jesus never said, “Come with me to temple.” Jesus said, “Follow me.” Christ built his Church upon relationships and not buildings.
Christianity and our faith must be about delivering real relationships and creating space for relationships with a culture that desires real connection in the midst of our overly connected virtual Amazonification world.