What's So Bad About Seeker Sensitive?

When I talk about churches being “on mission” I often hear a reply full of disdain, “does that mean you want us to be seeker-sensitive??!?”  As I press further, I learn that these individuals believe that being seeker-sensitive means watering down our theology, spirituality, and morality.  It’s churches who do anything to chase after the numbers and will gladly sacrifice the authority of Scripture for an easy-to-believe false gospel of universalism.  

These kind of “seeker-sensitive” churches are like the Sasquatch of Christianity.  They are big, scary, …and they don’t exist.  Believe me, as a church coach I travel hundreds of kms every week to visit churches big and small and I’ve never seen anything remotely like the beast people describe.  They are mere fables we tell ourselves so we can feel better about being disobedient to the Great Commission and spending all our time and money on ourselves.  It’s easy to be content with our holy social club when we imagine evangelistic churches as monsters.

So what do we mean when we talk about churches getting on mission? 

1. The Great Commission Is the Single Value that Drives Everything the Congregation Does:  This means that we go through every program and activity and ask, “how is this helping us make disciples who make disciples?”  If it’s not, we make the adjustments so that it does.  We need to restructure our activities so they have a missiological intent.  Sure, some activities are going to be about edifying and equipping the believers, but at least half of what we do should be about evangelism and introducing people to Jesus. 

2. Talking to Everyone:  We believe that we are a people in process.  Even if we know Jesus, there is still something next for us.  So, in the same way that we are on the journey, what about those who are curious, skeptical, unconvinced or de-churched?  These folks make up 80% of Canadians.  Who is talking to them?  Why not talk to them as well during your services?  Don’t assume they know our culture.  Don’t assume they know the Bible.  And, even if they are not in the room that day, talk to them anyways because you will help train the believers in the room how to communicate to their neighbours and that this is a safe place for those individuals to come and explore faith. 

3. Biblical Hospitality:  When I hear people complain about being “seeker friendly” I think, “what’s the alternative?  Seeker hostile?”  Do we want to turn away seekers?  Do we want to make seekers know that they don’t belong?  Why would we invite people into the church and then not be hospitable?  That seems bizarre to me.  So, we need to be intentional.  We need to coordinate our systems and train our people to host our Canadian friends and help them on the journey with us.  

Please hear me.  You DON’T have to water down your theology to communicate to a non-believer.  You should ALWAYS preach the whole truth of God and present the Gospel that convicts of sin and offers hope to the hopeless.  You should NEVER look to fill seats, but to save souls.  Canadians are looking for a REAL and AUTHENTIC Christian faith.  If that’s what you want to present to seekers, then I would say you are “seeker sensitive” without the negative connotations.  

How are you engaging the curious, skeptic, unconvinced or de-churched?  Share it in the comments.