Brittney inadvertently brought up a sore subject today. I have hesitated bringing up my views on Seeker churches because I know they are the elephant in the room. At least when talking with various friends and family members who’ve embraced the Seeker Driven Church. My own feelings on the matter are complex and continually evolving and revolving. It’s odd that I don’t write about this more often, since it’s the crux of a lot of my prayer time–but I think that level of personal involvment generally lends me to consider it for private viewing only. But today, thanks to a
PrimitiveSouthern Baptist Minister new to his pulpit, the issue is public and I’m going to chat a bit about it.
Worship is the act of acknowledging our Creator and Saviour with praise and thanksgiving. For those who have been saved and enjoy that personal relationship with their Saviour, our Worship time is similar to the time spent with our spouse. Daily devotions become akin to the suppertime conversations I have with my husband. They are intimate discussions about the mundane. They are the way He reveals himself to me through His written word and His Spirit. A church Worship Service is more akin to a date–time out on the town where you get to more fully worship his majesty in public.
(Ironically, “Personal Saviour” is a relationship that Pastor Dan says is not possible)
These public worship times have evolved over the centuries, leaving us with remnants of the myriad flavours of Church. If you most fully express your worship through liturgy and ritual you have all manner of High Church to attend. If you lean more toward Low Church you will find yourself in a more Traditional Worship setting. Chances are that if you are an American Christian (insert Randy Newman expletive here) your experience is either with a Traditional Worship or Pentecostal/Holiness style church. Both of these involve a pastor who is somewhat formally dressed, some type of choir (robed or in plainclothes) and a sermon buttressed by hymns. The hymns sung in the Traditional church tend to be more staid. It seems like 95% of them were written by either a Wesley, a Luther or Fanny Crosby. In a Pentecostal/Holiness church, the hymns are generally more upbeat and the congregation is more vocally participatory.
Pastor Dan’s latest piece addresses the ills of the “Seeker Friendly” church, which is where I take issue with him. Many churches are Seeker Friendly without altering their church name or style of worship. A Seeker Friendly church is merely one where they don’t wince if you come in jeans and allow you to participate in communion if you profess a relationship with Christ.
The problem as I see it is with the Seeker Driven church. These are the ones who have so completely altered the Sunday Morning Service from a time of worship to a time of entertainment. There are bands on the stage, skits, dancers in gauze who “interpretively move” to the music. There are clips from popular tv shows and films which buttress the Brief Message, and there is usually–not always, but usually–an overeager guy with a guitar forcing a repetitive drone through a simplistic chorus. The problem I have personally with these types of churches is not the way they dress but the type of “food” they serve. Worship has been redesigned. Instead of being an intimate time for the larger Body of Christ to experience their Worship, it is designed almost wholly to entertain the unbeliever. The theory (as I see it) is that people will come to church for the fun and realise that Jesus ain’t no stuffy dude. They’ll hopefully get saved and become members of the church.
Isn’t that like meeting and marrying someone on a cruise ship? And then staying on the cruise ship for the rest of your married life? Sure, cruises are fun and the food is good, but there’s no real-world relationship there.
I am an Evangelical Christian, though, and therein lies my largest beef with the Seeker Driven church. Many believers who have built these churches have done so with the best of intentions. They want to minister to the non-saved, to get them into church and into Christ’s family of the redeemed. I understand their desire to bring new people to Christ. I just can’t shake the feeling that it is contradictory to both parts of the Great Commission. First, are we “Going ye therefore” into “all nations” if we’re just pulling a Mickey Rooney and “putting on a show”? And really, honestly, does the Seeker Driven church “[teach] them to observe all things whatsoever [God] commanded [us]“?
Is Sunday Morning Church to be food for the believer or a cheese-baited trap for the unsaved?
UPDATE: Pastor Reed has updated some information via the comments. I’ve corrected his church affiliation appropriately.