People often tell me that I ought to cater my church more to the visitors, seekers, and lost people who come to it rather than the members. I always have a simple answer for such requests: no. Why? Because my role as pastor exist’s to ‘equip the saints (not the lost) for the work of ministry.’ (Ephesians 4:11-12) I do not avoid the visitors, I often speak directly to them during the sermon.
But think a bit deeper with me for a minute. In reality there can be no such thing as a seeker sensitive church. Why? Because no one seeks for God. That’s not my original thought, it is God’s. Romans 3:10-18 says, ‘None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.’
No one could be Biblically defined as a ‘seeker’ because no one seeks for God. It is our nature to be against God, to hate God, to ignore God, to leave God, to want other things than God, and to think of ourselves as god in place of God. We are a wicked people from head to toe. Romans 3:10-18 is crystal clear about what man is and what we’re not. We are sinful, we are not righteous. Only one is righteous, Jesus.
This season of Advent ought to teach us something in light of this conversation about seeker sensitive churches and the nature of ‘seekers.’ Since man does not seek God, how can anyone then be saved? What is the hope for mankind if we all together have become worthless? Well, our hope isn’t in any one of us, but in God, who despite our sin and vileness came and sought us out. You know what this means? God is the only Seeker in our salvation. The only thing we contributed to our salvation was the sin that made it necessary. He came to us when we weren’t willing to come to Him. He initiated our salvation when we weren’t looking for Him. This is what love is. He seeks, we are found.
Don’t be duped into thinking that a ‘seeker sensitive’ service is the proper practice, there is no such thing, there is no such person. Those who do it want large numbers rather than disciples. How then should we conduct services at church? How should I preach? By being clear on the one thing that matters: the gospel. It is not comfortable, but it is life-giving.