This one is pretty churchy, read at your own risk.

30 03 2014

Have you noticed how many churches have adopted the moniker of being Seeker Friendly? The nearest I can come to a definition of a seeker friendly church is; a comfortable environment in which to seek spiritual development. This definition is not all encompassing but I think it describes, in a nut shell, the direction of a seeker church.

I find that in attempting to become “seeker friendly”, the church has become more like a the seeker than like the Bride of Christ.

The problem I see with this idea is that we do not give the, so called, seeker enough credit. Seekers are already uncomfrotable and discontented with what they presently believe. That is what propels people to seek something else. People who are brave enough to search for something different are seeking the Truth. They are not satisfied to believe that what they know now is all there is.

I was seeking when I finally made the step to go to an AA meeting. I was confused, depressed, suicidal and of a very fragile mind. The only thing I was absolutely certain of was that I was going to die if something did not change. No one in AA was concerned with my “comfort”. I was desperate for my life and they had the answer. No one babied me. On the contrary, they said things to me like; “sit down, shut up and listen; go to 90 meetings in 90 days; you have nothing of value to add to a meeting until you have spent 90 days listening and learning.”

I had ADD before anyone had a name for it. I would get up for coffee a half dozen times in 90 minutes. I would try to sneak outside for a cigarette and to socialize with other people who had ducked out for their own reasons. My sponsor grabbed me on one of my wandering excursions and asked me what I was doing outside. “Your sobriety is not out here. Get your a$$ inside, sit down in the front row, shut your mouth and open your ears.” As angry and humiliated as those words made me feel, they were truth! Not what I wanted to hear, what I needed to hear. It takes a deep love and a certain courage to speak the truth. I am grateful for those who spoke truth to me, especially when I didn’t want to hear it. It did not chase me away from AA. It did not force the brakes on my journey for a different way of life. I was sick and tired of my old way of life and I became willing to grasp onto this new way of life.

So, back to the church and the seeker. My concern is that we are pointing the seeker in the wrong direction. Are we trying so hard to make the unbeliever comfortable that we are presenting the church as a party place? Honestly, some worship services look to me like a bar room band concert minus the alcohol. And, sometimes it is not minus the alcohol because I can smell the previous night’s activities on the stage. Sometimes, the musicians are still high or hungover. Is this the worship that our God deserves? Are we pointing to the lights and the fog machines and the musicians? Are we teaching by our behavior that we are no different than the rest of the world? What used to be a Bible study time has been turned into “fellowship” and sometimes they just happen to meet in a bar. Is it really okay to have one beer? As long as you invoke the name of God somewhere in the conversation, is that what makes it a “Christian” get together? Oh yeah, and if so and so, you know, the alcoholic, shows up then no one should have a drink. Does that make it okay? Are we teaching new believers more about freedom in Christ than about making sacrifice to remain Holy? Do we even know anymore what God meant when He said, “Be Holy because I am Holy”? What does the word sanctified mean? What am I supposed to set myself apart from? What did Jesus mean when He said, “They are not of the world even as I am not of the world.”? These are all valid questions that arise.

And here is the BIG question. Are we using the notion of being seeker friendly to justify living in a way that allows us to practice our creature comforts?

The seeker already knows what the world has to offer. Show them Jesus. Show them their own worth because God left Heaven and took a beating and was tortured and murdered to save them from their sin. Act like we know this to be true. Then, and only then, do we begin to do the seeker a service. Seekers deserve to know the truth.