Seeker Sensitive


I’ve been a bad blogger. I’m sorry. Aside from being sick and busy, I haven’t really had much inspiration or motivation. Now that I’m not blocked by Harding’s web filter, I don’t know what to blog about…I don’t want to say anything too inflammatory so as to face censorship again.

So, to keep things safe, I’d like to facilitate a discussion about “Seeker-Sensitive” churches.

What does that phrase mean to you? What are your experiences with “seeker-sensitive” worship services? Do you think it’s an effective model?

Let your voice be heard!

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  1. November 7, 2007 at 12:09 pm — Reply


  2. November 7, 2007 at 12:09 pm — Reply


  3. November 7, 2007 at 12:34 pm — Reply

    Vince, do you care to expound? 🙂

  4. November 7, 2007 at 1:22 pm — Reply

    You begin an awful lot of your blog posts with some variation of “I’ve been a bad blogger.” and “I’m sorry.” I’m just pointing out the obvious, apologize less and blog more.

    As far as seeker-sensitive worship goes I’m not sure what you mean by that. I think G-d is sensitive towards those who seek. Even saying if you seek you’ll find, etc.. But I don’t think there is only one way to implement that in a worship setting. In fact, I’m not even sure that worship was meant as a setting for seekers (unless of course we’re prophesying – see 1 Cor. 14). I’ve been to a “seeker service” a few times at one of the big evangelical churches in the US (Willow Creek) but mostly I found it weird. It was like a Christian rock concert, but even more mediocre than most (this is a purely aesthetic call musically, I’m not saying worship is mediocre, I just don’t find many Christian band that engaging artistically). I would say that seeker sensitive worship would be one where we accept people with all their problems and love them as they are, but still demanding change if necessary, although in a loving manner (ex. The woman at the well).

  5. November 7, 2007 at 2:16 pm — Reply

    When I look at the early church in Acts I see a gathering of people that had the expectation of non-Christians in attendance. It went without saying. this meant two things.

    the gathering made sense to non-Christians (culturally relevant)

    the gather met the needs of the believers

    When you have a ‘Seeker Service’ you are saying that you will only meet one of those needs and then require a separate gathering to meet the other…like a second church. when do you achieve a level of Christianity to go to the ‘believers’ service. since when are there ranks in Christendom?

  6. kristin
    November 7, 2007 at 2:55 pm — Reply

    I like what Steven says about Jesus being sensative to Seekers…but I know what you mean by Seeker-sensative.

    This is something I have thought a lot about and feel I have learned a lot about over the last year or so of my life, actually.

    When I first started hearing the word buzz phrase “seeker-sensitive” and how that usually categorizes a church/body/fellowship I began to see what I think is wrong with be this way.

    To me, it made what I was a part of whether it be a class, program, the actual service (whether that be the sermon each week or the way worship was done or whatever) all about a person we called a Seeker or all about us…and not really necessarily about God – worshipping Him, experiencing Him, hearing from Him…whoever might be in attendance and regardless of what they might think.

    I realized something that has changed the way I talk, my apologetics, and my faith in large ways and that is the realization that God doesnt need us to defend him, or make him relevant or sensative to Seekers. He doesnt need that kind of “help’ from us. He just wants us to worship Him, believe Him, listen to Him, obey Him…its his “job” to speak to the heart of those who seek…and he DOES!

    I am not saying we shouldnt meet people where they’re at…but I also dont think this is the same thing as being “seeker-sensitive” or relevant.

    Organizing an entire worship service or church programs around anyone who might be there who might not follow Christ is dangerous ground to tread on (as if we could do a better job of reaching them than the Holy Spirit will).

    I dont know… I just think that getting together and being about the Presence is more on track than getting together and being “Seeker-sensitive.”

    I dont think we have to be “Seeker-sensitive” to end up being sensitive to Seekers.

    I’m tired of typing the word, “sensitive” because I always tend to want to misspell it.

    I just think identifying as seeker-sensitive and striving to be that ends up with ones priorities all out of wack. What we are about is so much bigger than this.

    To see a post I made along these lines on my own blog a while back go here:

    You can read the comments that follow as well.

  7. kristin
    November 7, 2007 at 3:09 pm — Reply

    I love what Vince says. Thanks. Man, if I could only say everything I needed to in that few words sometimes.

    Reading back over my post I dont even know if its sounds like I am saying anything like what Vince said…but, ditto.

    The only thing I would clairfy for myself is that coming together as the Body should also not be about getting our needs met. I’m not saying thats what VInce is saying…

    My needs are certainly met when I am gathered together with those who follow God but that isnt why we meet together. God can do lots of things at once!

  8. November 7, 2007 at 4:53 pm — Reply

    Steven, you’re right. I do. I feel as if I need to repent every time it’s been a week since I posted last. I commit to ending that nasty and self-pitying habit.

  9. November 7, 2007 at 5:33 pm — Reply

    Todd: you stopped by my place; I figured I drop by yours. In answer to your questions…

    What does that phrase mean to you?
    a) Bad news.
    b) Our church is desperate to fill the pews and we don’t believe simply preaching the word is effective enough to draw people.
    c) The church down the street is “doing it” and a lot of people are showing up, so it must be right.

    What are your experiences with “seeker-sensitive” worship services?
    a) Nothing but a venue for the worship leader and his guitarist friend to show off the latest licks they’ve learned.
    b) “I Can Only Imagine” is NOT supposed to be sung “congregationally.”
    c) An inch “deep” and a mile wide.

    Do you think it’s an effective model?
    a) Yes…of how to raise up a weak, shallow congregation of people that believe truth is relative.

  10. November 7, 2007 at 7:22 pm — Reply

    I like your topic — it inspired me to write a post of my own. In short, I compare the phases our church’s guitar group has gone through with churches having seeker services. I think they’re a good idea.

  11. November 8, 2007 at 1:30 am — Reply

    Todd, I used to big a huge fan of the seeker services. I went to Willowcreek thinking it was like Mecca. I think the beauty of this model is that it wants to open up the Kingdom of God to everyone. The heart behind it is good, and so it’s hard to criticize it but…

    Part of the problem is that it plays into the consumer mindset that most of American Christianity has become entrenched in. As if God wanted a tithe of our lives instead of all of us. It can mute the cost of discipleship and make church more like a country club (Dallas Willard wrote a book called the Great Ommission dealing with our lack of call to discipleship). It also reduces church to something other than what it was created to be. A group of people who meet together for an hour a week.

    I heard Atchley say this the other day, Nowhere in the Bible is someone estranged from God commanded to seek, instead the people of God are commanded to seek for people. They embody a different way of life, not just a different address on Sunday mornings. The best churches are the ones who produce a different kind of disciple, one who makes their world a better place. When we meet people like that we are automatically drawn to what made them that way.

    With all that said, it seems that there is mystery when the people of God get together, and instead of trying to remove that, maybe we could try to unpack it for the people who are visiting.

    Anyway this is just where I am at right now, good post Todd.

  12. November 8, 2007 at 3:21 pm — Reply

    I don’t think that our churches should necissarily be “seeker sensetive” as a congregation. I think that we should be as individuals, but I agree with Kristin when she points out that we need to be worshiping & glorifying God in our assemblies. That needs to be the focus. Now, that doesn’t mean that we exclude any seekers that may be present by giving our assemblies a “holier than thou feel.” It simply means that I think that when our assemblies are authentic, or sincere or real or whatever word you want to use, they will naturally be appealing to any outsider who may be present.

  13. November 9, 2007 at 12:40 pm — Reply

    I’m so sheltered that I didn’t even know what you were talking about with the “seeker sensitive” thing. I did a little research and it seems that most of the folks writing about this are either stoutly defensive or in attack mode. I prefer neither. If it is what I think it is, I see no problem with tailoring your message to your audience. And I think Paul would back me up on that. (Mars Hill and what not.)

  14. Brad
    November 10, 2007 at 8:35 am — Reply

    In my experience most any honest effort to reach people with the gospel is better than no effort. I’ve seen people use a lot of methods that I thought were no good that resulted in genuine response. So even though I’m not a big fan of s/s services I’m still rooting for them.

    One temptation that comes with them is to try to sell the gospel rather than preaching it. I’ve done it myself. The seeker must be exposed to more than messages of free forgiveness and salvation to make an informed and lasting decision. Some s/s services do a better job of this than others.

  15. November 10, 2007 at 6:10 pm — Reply

    When someone visits in my home. I hope they notice that my family is in love. In the same way, when someone visits my church assembly, I hope they see a family in love with each other and with their Christ. The apostle Paul talked about this in Corinthians. He said to manage their assemblies in such a way that an outsider would fall on his face and say, “surely God is present among these people.”

  16. Kristin
    November 15, 2007 at 5:12 pm — Reply

    When I think about s/s congregations I dont just think of a church where the preacher tries to tailor his message to his audience…its more than that…its an entire identity and I tend to think now that the assembly isnt where we “reach people with the gospel.” I mean, that happens…but we try to make the one or two times a week that we meet (whenever that might be) do all of the things that we should be doing the rest of the week…at all times in our walk. we let the preacher and those with the titles be the “priests” and…I dont know. Its a domino affect in my eyes. The focus is God, not “seekers.” And, you know what? I’m a Seeker…

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Seeker Sensitive