Read with Care.
This May Challenge You.
What is seeker-sensitive church?
According to Christianity Today (2013) and Steve
Shirley from Jesus Alive, a seeker sensitive church is
defined as a church with the main desire to be friendly
to people who are seeking to see if God is real – as the
name implies. This means that the church will do
everything possible, to make as many people as
possible feel comfortable – so that they return. This
framework effects the doctrine that is taught, the type
of music played, what kind of marketing is used and
what the building looks like. Here is what Tim from the
Dictionary of Christianize said about what the seeker
sensitive church is, “So, in a nutshell… They’re… trying
to be more accessible to non-Christian visitors who
have very little previous Christian experience” (2013).
Why is this model not beneficial?
Before discussing why I think this model is not helpful, I
must clarify that the way this model outworks itself
looks different from church to church. One church
could be seeker sensitive all week long, at every event
they run. Another church could be seeker sensitive
only on the Sunday meeting.
The main weakness or problem with this kind of model
is that the sheep (the Christians) are not fed properly,
they are not taught how to feed themselves or to feed
others. At the end of the book of John, Jesus told John
to, “feed His sheep.” This cannot be done properly,
when a seeker-sensitive approach is being used. The
danger is that this model produces weak believers who
are starving for spiritual food.
The fruit of this model will be believers who are
susceptible to false teaching, a church that is prone to
divisions and other issues too – such as rampant
sexual sin, bitterness and unforgiveness. Therefore, in
the end, seeker-sensitive churches do not properly
fulfill their mandate to, “go out into all the world and
make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). There is
nothing wrong for a church to be open and welcoming
to all people, however to do this at the risk of leading
the sheep down to their spiritual death is not a good
idea. Dorothy Greco echoes this when she said, “rather
than helping congregants… churches that bend into
their mercurial whims foster a me-first mentality. This
plays into one of the potential root sins of this
generation: self-absorption” (2013). In other words, a
church that bends to please every persons preferences
becomes a community where human beings are at the
center – not God. The result of only teaching what
people want to hear, or holding back on the full counsel
of God is that the church become self-centered.Having
spent some time in a seeker sensitive church myself, I
can agree to this specifically and the weakness of this
model in general.
What to do if you are part of a seeker
I honestly don’t know. Do we run? Do we fight? Do we
go and talk about it? I honestly have no idea. What we
must do is pray that God’s will be done and we must
make sure that we do not become spiritually sick – but
that we do all we can to let others feed us good food
(doctrine). In addition, we must continue to feed
ourselves the truth and help others do the same.