A group of entrepreneurs is trying to raise one million dollars to build a McDonald’s restaurant inside a church. They are calling the project “McMass.”
Here is the plan:
Churches in modern times suffer from a number of unique problems. In many places across America church attendance is in decline, and churches themselves are even closing down. Churches need to make sure they are financially stable, and need to engage with the larger community around them. A McDonald’s franchise represents an opportunity not only for revenue, but also to draw a wider audience to the church, reinforcing the church as a gathering point.
Churches are amazing buildings, and their power to add to a business is immense. Churches are often centrally located relative to their communities, enhancing a McDonald’s already considerable audience draw. Traditionally, the space has gravity, ambience, and architecture that make for highly desirable real estate.
The McMass group is in the process of finding a church willing to host its McDonald’s. I have absolutely no doubt that they will be successful. If history teaches us anything, it is that American Christians have never had a problem using capitalism to get people in the pews. Today’s megachurches have coffee shops that serve Starbucks coffee. Willow Creek Community Church in the Chicago area has a food court. So does First Baptist Church in Atlanta. It serves food from Chick-fil-A, Papa John’s, and Boston Market. McDonald’s is the next logical step.
Perhaps you are a Christian who does not like the idea of having a fast food restaurant in a church. Perhaps you believe church is not a place where people should go to satisfy their personal wants and desires for goods–in this case cheap burgers, fries, shakes, chicken nuggets, and hot apple pies. Maybe you think church should be a place of self-denial–a sacred space where these consumer desires for comfort food should be curbed so that the affections can be turned toward God and fellow believers rather than personal appetites.
Too late. The train has already left the station.