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Why churches should avoid seeker-sensitive concepts


It is the natural tendency of every church to want to grow. Even those who are presently finding it difficult to manage their growth are still strategizing on how to get more people into their pews. This is predominantly seen among evangelicals, and one of the strategies employed for church growth is referred to as “seeker sensitive.”

The ambition of pastors to bring in more flocks into their churches and by extension into God’s Kingdom is noble, good and godly. God Himself wants everyone to be saved — that is why He sent His only begotten son to come and die to redeem us. The seeker-sensitive agenda, when examined superficially, seems to be the most efficient way of bringing about real church growth. However, a close look at the quality not the quantity of converts shows that it is more cosmetic than real.

The idea is to bring in as many unsaved people to church by making the Church attractive using every available means within the disposal of church leadership. Sophisticated musical entertainment, state of the art lighting and sound system are fashioned after clubs and worldly entertainment centers to enable the unsaved to blend-in with the church. Even the standards of the Bible are lowered so that attendees are not offended, sinners in the church are not rebuked, and sin is not condemned. Inasmuch as it is better for the unsaved to be in church than in casinos and night clubs, it is there is still nothing glorious about false conversions.

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Some of these churches use community surveys as their blueprint, and then construct their liturgy based on what unbelievers want and expect. After what they want is noted, the leadership of the church tries as much as possible to organize the proposed church to suit the demand of their respondents with the belief that if they can get them through the doors, the Gospel will inevitably become attractive to them as well.

The focus of the seeker-sensitive church then is not Christ-centered, but man-centered. The main purpose of the seeker-sensitive church’s existence is to give people what they want or meet their felt needs.

Many seeker-sensitive churches are enjoying the dividend of the crowd, charisma, and the financial resources that are flowing in because of the excess tithes and offerings. One thing most seeker-sensitive churches do not look at is how grounded their members are in their Christian walk. The million-dollar question is how many of these purported converts who are products of this seeker sensitivity have had an encounter with Christ? Are they really seeking God?

“Why is it that people all around us who are not believers in Christ or not Christians seem to be seeking after God, when the Apostle says so clearly that no man seeks after God?” This question was thrown at Thomas Aquinas many centuries ago and he answered the question this way: “What we observe is people seeking things that only God can give them.” Most seeker-sensitive churches usually attract the un-churched by giving them promises and hopes of what God will do for them if they come to Him. False converts usually come with lots of expectations and focus on their desires. They see God only as a problem-solving God. The most unfortunate thing that can happen in many of these seeker-sensitive churches is that they never graduate from feeding the converts with milk to feeding them with solid food.

Churches should avoid the seeker-sensitive model because it is not biblical. Jesus rebuked sinners and enjoined us to do the same: “Jesus says, ‘pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him’” (Luke 17:3). The Apostle Paul never made the Gospel attractive; rather he made it categorically clear that suffering is part of Christian living: “Where they strengthened the believers. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

What will it profit a church after gaining many members here on earth and all lose the Kingdom of God in the process?

Oscar Amaechina is the president of Afri-Mission and Evangelism Network, Abuja, Nigeria. His calling is to take the gospel to where no one has neither preached nor heard about Jesus. He is the author of the book Mystery Of The Cross Revealed.  

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