But Peter and the other apostles answered and said, “We must obey God rather than men.”
(Acts 5:29, NKJV)

Whether churches exist to please God or men is a settled matter in the Bible, yet some church leaders today view churches as businesses and members as customers, a notion flawed in two very important ways.

First, the Bible never uses the language of commerce when it speaks of the church. Rather, it mentions the more relational terms of a bride, a body, and a family. A member who leaves one church for another is not a lost customer, but is more like the son or daughter who lives with an aunt or grandparent while they attend college. Since our churches are members of one family, we are not in competition for customers like rival businesses. We all have One Customer and we can never lose Him.

Second, even if one wrongfully were to assume such a business model, churches would simply be different franchises of the same enterprise. Our members are to serve as employees rather than being served as if they were customers. A member leaving one church for another is like a Walmart associate transferring to a different store. Though in a new location, they remain our associate and fellow worker in an enterprise devoted to satisfying the One and Only Customer Who is Always Right.