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Why Seeker Sensitivity Misses the Mark

For decades churches have taken business principles and "baptized" them to make them church principles. Now, don't get me wrong. Many, if not most, of these principles of leadership and organization are great and even appropriate within the church. However, there are times when it seems that churches and leaders are so focused on the latest principle or leadership idea that the reality of what it means to be the church sometimes gets lost.

A number of years ago the push was for every church to develop a vision or mission statement. Again, if your church has one of these statements, that's not a bad thing. 

I guess sometimes it has to do with personality style, too. There are some who are more eclectic and feel constrained by a mission statement. Others need a statement. They have a hard time functioning in ministry without one.

Over the past few years, churches have been focusing on changing the scorecard (i.e. that which we count and measure to determine if we're doing OK as a church.) This has become one of the most challenging things for churches today. After generations of counting the three "B"s to determine how well we're doing (baptisms, budget and buildings) it is difficult to not fall back into that mode. 

So, new scorecards are needed and a revisit to this concept of mission and vision statements.

In truth the mission of the church has never changed. Some struggle with the broadness of statements based on the Great Commission and Great Commandment. That's too bad because the mission of the church hasn't changed since these Scripture passages were written. I have a feeling we're not allowed to change them either.

At the core of who we are as the church, there is only one reason we exist. There's one mission. There's one vision and that is "to glorify God." 

That must be enough. Spyglass

Years ago churches were encouraged to be seeker sensitive. The initial motives were pure - to reach the unreached. Churches changed much to become culturally relevant in their communities. Worship styles changed. Dress codes were relaxed. Some went so far as to remove any reference to sin or any other "offensive" doctrines.

Some things that changed were needed and truly non issues when it comes to the true prophetic vision to bring glory to God. Other things that changed in order to be "seeker sensitive" were and still are heretical.

I was reading some from David Platt's book Radical Together tonight and this section truly resonated with me (and resulted in a few too many Tweets at a late hour.)

But let me remind you of a startling reality that the Bible makes clear: "There is . . . no one who seeks God." So if the church is sensitive  to seekers, and if no one is seeking God, then that means the church is sensitive to no one.

Wow! How true!

The Scripture reminds us that people do not seek Truth. They do not seek Him. Yet, Jesus tells us that the Father is pursuing worshippers for His glory. Therefore, it is God who is seeking, not man. 

A church that builds its "vision" upon reaching those who are supposedly seeking God (of whom there are none) rather than upon focusing and bringing glory to God will miss the point royally. Oh, attendance may increase initially and some churches may sustain it for a while, but the reality is that a church focused upon anything other than glory of God is missing the point and is, therefore "doing" church for the wrong reasons (Yeah, I know that comment will get some negative reactions, but . . . oh well.)

The Father is seeking. He has been seeking sinners for generations. He knows how to do this and does it well. While I'm not against great sound systems, air conditioned buildings, coffee in the foyer or a really good band by any stretch of the imagination, it must be remembered that God is not relying on us to draw people to Him. 

Though the scorecard needs to change, there will still be one. I think it's just simpler than we've made it in the past. Perhaps, what matters is just so difficult to count and that's why the old scorecard grew in popularity.

What is that new scorecard? What is that vision?


We are to make disciples, love people and bring glory to God (and by making disciples and loving people we do bring glory to God.)

I like how Platt ends the section on vision and seeker sensitivity.

So let's be radically seeker sensitive in our churches. But let's make sure we are being sensitive to the right Seeker.

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