Monday, October 26, 2015

The 'Seeker' Friendly Church

I've noticed, since I have become a born-again Christian -which was in the late '80's, that the church is constantly morphing the way it does 'church.' I find that the church is always trying to invent a new style or look, newer programs, newer buildings, to simply get the lost to come through it's doors-thus the 'seeker' friendly church. It's all quite confusing to me. This world is always changing. You're always needing to upgrade this or upgrade that, but I believe church doesn't need all of that. Church is simple. It always has been. Church is where we go to know and find Jesus. Why are we trying to make it more than that?

I understand the heart idea behind the seeker church philosophy, but after attending a seeker church service I have been embolden to share my feelings. This may surprise some, but I'm not altogether in favor of a seeker church style. I've come up with two main and basic reasons for feeling as I do.

1. My testimony in a nutshell: I loved Jesus all of my childhood and in my teen years as a Catholic, but still felt lost and confused. As much as I loved God and went to church every Sunday there were times I felt maybe God wasn't listening, or maybe I'm supposed to 'do' this world on my own. I really did feel lost. At age eighteen I tried a new church-not Catholic, on the bequest of my mother. When I entered the church doors there was music, with a full band, people were happy, singing, even dancing! When the music became quieter, there were people raising their hands, speaking in a foreign tongue and even something called prophecy! I was curious of it all, but not afraid. I could see they wanted more of Jesus, just like I wanted more of Him. I didn't run out the door, I stayed. I stayed because I wanted more. The pastor preached. My heart felt on fire. Questions my soul was longing to hear were being answered. Things were becoming clear. I prayed the sinners prayer that very day. I now sing, dance, speak in a foreign tongue, have words of knowledge, visions, and prophesy.

My soul longed for EVERYTHING God has to offer and as I walked into the church it unashamedly offered it to me. If I didn't want more of God I wouldn't have walked through it's doors in the first place, but I did and I received it all!

What the seeker churches are doing are pretending we are something we are not-Christians filled with Holy Spirit and on fire for God! We suppress Holy Spirit and God and even hide Jesus to welcome the stranger- the lost. Why? They are coming into the church to find Him! Are we afraid that if they meet the real Jesus, the real Holy Spirit, the real God, the Father of Heaven they will run out? I'm not. When they meet Him as I did, they will run to Him and ask for even more!

Didn't Jesus speak the truth? Did He not boldly preach no matter who was sitting in the crowd? Did He change His message because He was afraid of loosing the pharisees? No! He offered truth, they rejected it. Did He change His hair-do? His clothes? Act younger and cooler to impress and draw a crowd? No. Did he choose handsome, well dressed modern men to be His disciples? No. He didn't have to. His words were and are life giving, life breathing. People who really desire to know Him and be changed don't care about all the new sparkly, fashionable things. They have lived a life filled with the fake and the showy things of this world and now their hearts want the truth. We as Christians need to give it to them, not hide it.

I remember walking into my old church for the first time and seeing the cross of Jesus up on the heart rested. A few months later the renovation started, when it was done, the cross was gone. Why? I was told that the cross was offensive to many new comers. My response, Yes! It is! It reminds us of our sin and how very much we need a Savior! I love the cross. I love that Jesus died for me. He died to set me free from so much darkness and pain. He died so I could have forgiveness and hope. Take the cross away and what have you got? Only an imperfect preacher standing on a stage-I want both-the preacher and the cross!

Bottom line- If we, the church, are seeking the seekers, don't we want to give them what they are seeking for?  The 'seekers' want JESUS and we have Him! Let's give the seekers what they really want- Jesus, not a church that looks like the world devoid of Jesus. If that is what we are offering then, well, in that case they can go back to the bars and clubs and be very comfortable in their lost lives and allow the bartenders to handle their hurts.

2. The second reason I disagree with the whole idea of a 'seeker' friendly church is that those that are already in the church are being asked to sit still and wait for a seeker to come along and be saved. All the while the committed church members aren't allowed to grow, dance, raise their hands, or prophesy in fear we will scare off or drive away the new comer/seeker. I can't say that is altogether fair -Can you? And don't get me wrong, I am not wanting a crazy church service. Jesus was radical, not chaotic. I pray these pastors who are leading their church in a 'seeker' friendly style will trust the Holy Spirit in their parishioners to be lead by the Holy Spirit.

Church service is a tricky thing-I get it, on one hand you want all to feel welcome, and yet on the other hand you want those who have different gifts from Holy Spirit to use them. There has to be a better compromise then shutting down the Holy Spirit completely for the possibility that you may have one lost soul walk through your door. All I can really say is that I am saddened that the Church has become ashamed of the Holy Spirit. If we really love Holy Spirit we would not be afraid of Him when He shows up. We would be excited, even anticipating His arrival and glad to see a lost soul see and meet Him too.

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