Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Seeker-Senstive Church?

I've read a few commentaries on the pro's and con's of seeker-sensitive churches, or how to be a seeker-sensitive church. But the articles I've read have managed to miss the point. It seems intuitive that the best way to be a seeker-sensitive church is to have something worth finding. Most churches assume without question that they have something worth finding, and so turn their attention to other matters which at its worst comes nauseatingly close to marketing.

Shouldn't churches assume without question that they have something worth finding? To the extent that they have Jesus, that's true. But how many churches are really centered around Jesus? Isn't that what we ought to be seeking, and what the seekers ought to be finding? If people want good music, Christianity has produced some of the best music in history from Bach to Beethoven and beyond. I don't want to under-value good music; I know what it's like to belong to a church where good music is under-valued. Bad music takes the joy out of the songs and can completely frustrate any good that might be in the lyrics. C.S. Lewis' comment -- fourth-rate sermons set to fifth-rate tunes or something to that effect -- comes to mind. I've also been to services with contemporary music where the tunes and lyrics aren't great, and I don't see it matters much which style of song it is that people aren't singing because the words are vapid and the tune difficult and unmemorable. But if people were leaving their homes just for music they'd go to a concert. If people were leaving their homes just for the emotional rush involved in the high-impact service, they'd go to a movie. If the church wants to be sensitive to seekers, we have to ask ourselves: people seeking what? And which things being sought are legitimately what we're here to do?

"We want to see Jesus." (John 12:21)

That's what the seeker-sensitive church is about: having what is worth finding. After that, we can worry about the music.

1 comment:

Lyn said...

Good thoughts, thanks for your post. While I'm with you and generally supportive of seeker-friendly churches, I suppose one issue has to do with who is really doing the seeking. Yes, the scripture promises that we will find God if we search for him with all our heart. But the thrust of the bible is that it is God doing the seeking. So seeker-friendly churches get off track when they market everything toward those they think are seeking them. When in fact, God is seeking the lost through us. How that is done is truly a difficult task. Lyn at Thought Renewal