Monday, 8 June 2009

A Seeker-Sensitive Church

I am pleased to declare I go to a seeker-sensitive church, even though they would not classify themselves as such.

Because the question must be asked, what is the seeker really seeking? A true seeker, the kind a church like this wants to reach, is seeking the truth. They are seeking the God they suspect is there (to borrow and paraphrase the words of Francis Schaeffer) and how to know Him. And a true seeker sensitive church will tell them how to find what they are looking for.

A true seeker sensitive church will tell them that they, along with all the rest of us, have fallen short of God's standards. The fact is that a God big enough to have created the universe and everything in it, a God truly worthy of worship, must be a God of perfection, with no shortcomings at all. He must be supreme above all things (and if He were less than perfect, He wouldn't be supreme.) And so His standard would be perfection. And anything less than perfection would not meet God's standard, and the penalty for this is separation from Him and ultimate destruction. And the seeker might answer, "Well, no one's perfect." And they would be absolutely correct.

So what would be the answer then? Well, the answer would be that God, in His love, provided a way that we could know Him, even though we cannot possibly earn that right on our own. And that is that He came to earth Himself, as a man, Jesus Christ, and He did live a perfect life and so was the only person in history who really didn't deserve death. But he stood in for us. He offered himself to die on the cross so that the rest of us, all who would place their faith in him, could live. And that is the very simple answer, and the only one, to the seeker's quest. Place your faith in Jesus and you will live. You will have that relationship with the God of the universe for which you are looking.

A non seeker sensitive church (the one who would often [mis]classify themselves as seeker-sensitive) will try to soft pedal the truth of the gospel, thinking that it must cover up the hard parts (that perhaps we are not as good as we think we are) so as not to turn people off. But such a strategy will only attract those who really don't want to hear the truth. They just want to have their hopes affirmed that they are basically good and have the power within to accomplish their own, "salvation," (however they define the term). These are the people who will stay as long as it gives them a warm fuzzy feeling, because that is what they are looking for. I think these can be seen as the ones Jesus speaks of in the parable of the sower.
The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.

They love the "poetry" of the Bible. They love the easy parts, the beautiful passages. They love the, "God loves you just the way you are" message, and receive it with joy. But as soon as they see that God's love is too great to leave them the way they are, they rebel. When they are confronted with the fact that God actually demands something of them (if indeed they are ever told this in a so-called seeker sensitive church), they quickly deny the truth or leave to search elsewhere.

And so I consider the church I attend to be a true seeker-sensitive church. I am thankful for the pastor and the leaders who have a true love for God's word, a real heart for the Gospel and a genuine desire to reach those who need to hear it.

Take Care

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