Friday, March 16, 2007

Seeker-Sensitive Church

Lately there have been several great discussions around my circle of the blogosphere about “seeker-sensitive” churches and “healthy” churches. Leslie, Kim and Kim have already touched on parts of this.

I have never been a big Rick Warren or “seeker-sensitive” fan. His ‘programs’ always seemed too perfect and too marketed. In that marketing, the gospel was watered down so much that I questioned if it was still the same Gospel message of the Bible. My suspicions about this “Purpose-Driven” stuff were confirmed when our former church went through the “40 Days of Purpose” campaign. My husband was to lead his Sunday School class through certain materials about this “Purpose-Driven life”. One has to be discerning in reading this book, especially when so many scriptures are taken out of context. A good review of this book by Nathan Busenitz can be found here.

Reading all of these blogs this past week reminded me of a sermon my husband preached last October entitled “Worship in the New Testament: Seeker Sensitive.” God has prescribed worship to be Seeker-sensitive, but not “seeker-sensitive.” Notice that I capitalized Seeker the first time in the previous sentence. Worship is about God. He is the only one who Seeks, He is the One we should be concerned with in worship. In fact, the Psalmist writes in Psalm 14, “The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.”

In Genesis 4:4, God had no regard for Cain’s offering of worship. In 1 Samuel 15 God told Saul to go to Amalek and destroy everything but Saul thought he knew better and allowed King Agag and his best livestock to be spared. Think of Nadab and Abihu, Aaron’s sons, and how their carelessness with the worship of God cost them. Remember the Bible says they offered strange or unauthorized fire and that the fire of the Lord consumed them?

"If there is any lesson to be learned from these accounts it is that our worship must be
seeker sensitive… In our day we have many who are redefining worship in the church. We
have many modern day Cains and sons of Aaron and Sauls and Uzzahs, who want to do
things their own way. Maybe they think their way is more efficient, easier, quicker, and
with apparently better results. Maybe they think that God didn’t really know what he was
talking about in his prescriptions of worship and so they consider their idea’s innovations.
Their innovations water down doctrine so as not to offend. They have sought to be as
entertaining as possible. They can make you laugh one minute and cry the next. They have
re-written worship music to be little more than love songs for Jesus that would fit right in
at any wedding reception or any bar’s karaoke night. It is just like Jeremiah’s day though.
They are acting in their own authority, not under God’s authority, and the people love it.

They must think that because they are pleasing people that this is going to please God
and he is going to be so glad they came along and straightened him out and got the results
he was always looking for but could never get without their help. I’m afraid that just like
the disregarded offerings of Cain and the strange fire of the sons of Aaron and the
disobedience of Saul and the irreverence of Uzzah, God is NOT pleased. And in their
striving to be seeker sensitive, they forgot who the seeker was they were supposed to be
sensitive too." (from Brian's sermon)


Kelly said...

I have been thinking, praying and studying a lot about this lately. Jason and I have had a lot of discussions, as well. Our church is without a doubt God centered in worship. He alone is who we worship. I think we also create an environment where visitors feel welcomed and loved. We have stage design and lights. A great band.
Yet, to me, this doesn't detract from Who I am worshipping, it tends to focus or hone in on what our pastor is preaching on. He, without a doubt, preaches the whole council of God's Word.
It is sad to see how churches have watered down the Truth. It is also exciting to see how many churches are getting it right. Lives are being changed one at a time.
I miss you girl. I've been thinking and praying for you a lot lately. I hope all is well with you pregnancy.

Kim said...

I agree with this totally,Jenn! What a wise man your husband is. WE would love your church,it sounds like. When we were part of starting a church(years ago) there was a huge group that wanted to do the Purpose driven church...this is when Mike and I began reading the book, being somewhat open to it but also cautious...The book ended up with lots highlighted as concerns...we actually went through and underlined things then out beside it wrote in the Biblical answer, which was not what he was saying. We knew right away this was not right and sought out Biblical counsel from someone online...who encouraged us to find a church doing things right and Biblically...and this is what we have done. It has not been easy,but by God's grace we are in a Biblically sound church and we are so grateful.

The process hurt, though and most people in our small town think we are crazy for driving to another city for church...but most of these don't get homeschooling,having more than 2 children...etc.

We have had to learn to please God and not man. Still learning this one..but we have made baby steps toward this.

Thanks for this post!


Kim said...

I like this quote I heard a long time ago..."people devise their own plans,see success(numbers) and then pat themselves on the back to say "look what Jesus has done" when in reality they are ashamed of the gospel and the true gospel has not been preached. Instead people feel comfortable and hip in church without seeing their real need...forgiveness for their sins.

It bothers me.

Christina said...

It is so encouraging to read that there are others, like us, who are questioning the "seeker sensitive" movement. Thank you for your testimony of faithfulness.