Looking at the culture of the Modern American Church today, I’m always amazed at how Seeker Sensitive it’s become. If you don’t know what “Seeker Sensitive” means, a loose definition would be “messages that don’t meddle with people, worship that doesn’t cost anything, prayer that only points inward and not outward, doctrines that make people feel comfortable in their sin, policies that don’t protect the integrity of the Word, and programs that are more about building numbers than growing disciples.” Basically, Seeker Sensitive Churches prefer to pat people on the back, no matter the condition of their soul, than to allow the truth of God’s Word to pierce them.
A lot of mega churches are guilty of being Seeker Sensitive. I wouldn’t dare claim that all mega churches are this way – I personally know several ministries with global influence whose message is a pure stream. But I must admit that it’s a danger that large churches specifically face. Because their ministry and their influence has grown so exponentially, pride can cause leaders within the church to prioritize keeping people comfortable with where they’re at rather than calling them higher. Thus, Seeker Sensitive churches will often avoid speaking on topics such as Hell, repentance, holiness, sanctification, rebellion, witchcraft, authority, dishonor, etc… Often, Seeker Sensitive churches feel more like a large motivational seminar than a church service. Gone is the glory of God that drives the masses to the altars in repentance and intercession.
Gone is the understanding of our responsibility to respond to the grace of God with a lifestyle lived according to His Word. Gone is Fire-of-God preaching and the salvation of the masses. Gone is zealous and child-like worship. Instead, Seeker Sensitive churches are full of people who would rather sit in the pews than kneel at the altar. Historically, churches like this have done little to change the world. If you study the Great Awakenings, the Azusa Street Revival, they all started with a Fire-of-God preacher with the courage to release a dangerous message to a lost people. These revivals and awakenings didn’t start in the cathedrals – more often than not, they started on a soapboxes in back rooms. Their messages were pure. “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” by Jonathan Edwards brought thousands to the mercy seat of Christ. Yes, messages like these wounded – just as Jesus must have wounded the Pharisees, just as He must have wounded the rich young ruler. But they wounded with the conviction of the Holy Spirit, not with the cruelty of a man.
But this post is not for the criticism of Seeker Sensitive churches. Though, I do believe we need to bring this error to light. Seeker Sensitivity, I believe, is in large part responsible for the downfall of the Church in America. I also firmly believe it’s a huge reason the world doesn’t take Christianity seriously anymore – when church is basically one big self-help meeting these days, what’s the point?
The thing I want to remind us all of is that no one said it would be easy. Honestly, if I was an unbeliever who’d never been to church and had no knowledge of the Bible, I wouldn’t give a rip about a religion that claimed to have all the answers for all my problems, saying “all you have to do is pray this prayer.” Because frankly, that sounds like something a telemarketer would say. And that just turns me off. See, I don’t believe anything easy is worth doing. And the things that are worth doing aren’t easy.
Jesus once said that it’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. (Matthew 19:24) Why? Jesus was saying that it’s incredibly hard for someone who is comfortable and has faced no difficulty to enter heaven because the path to heaven is not comfortable. The path to the presence of Jesus is costly. We have to constantly live outside of our comfort zones in so many different ways. The way we worship isn’t supposed to be comfortable. (2 Samuel 6:14-22) The way we pray isn’t supposed to be comfortable. (Matthew 26:36-56) The way we live isn’t supposed to be comfortable. (John 16:33; Galatians 5:24; Romans 8:13-14; Luke 9:23; Matthew 16:24-26)
So you’ll have to forgive me if I’m wary of churches and pastors and ministries that are okay with making people comfortable. And honestly, I don’t blame unbelievers for being skeptical of those churches, pastors, and ministries. Anyone offering an easy fix immediately seems fishy to me. I’ve thought about this often: if I was an unbeliever living a lifestyle of sin and brokenness, what would attract me more? A feel-good, goosebumps message that placates me into a false sense of security? Or a brutal, straightforward message that exposes the areas of my life that aren’t right and promises the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to help me change while calling me to a higher way of living – a supernatural way? I’m sorry, but I think the path to the presence of Jesus is clear. It isn’t marked by goosebumps, easy theology, happy feelings, and self-help sermons. The path to the presence of Jesus is marked with self-denial, repentance, conviction, sanctification, purity, holiness, self-sacrifice, and discomfort.Jesus bled for us; should we not bleed for Him?
Oh, that the Church would be wounded again! Not with the cruelty of man, but with the conviction of the Holy Spirit! My prayer is that the Modern American Church would come to understand what the persecuted churches all over the world have already learned: the greater the cost, the greater the reward!
I believe God wants to raise up a new breed of Christian. A people who aren’t satisfied with goosebumps and good feelings. A people who don’t care about the light-shows and the trends. No, I believe the eyes of the Lord are searching for a new breed of Christian; a consecrated, sanctified, desperate, branded-by-fire, kingly and priestly tribe of warriors, worshippers, and intercessors; a people who will not tolerate injustice, impurity, or indifference; a people who will stoke their own fire, who will speak up with boldness and courage, who will stand apart from the crowd, who will step into greater anointing and authority, who will stop playing games with God, who will stop wavering, who will get on their faces and grab hold of God and won’t let go until they see the glory of the Lord restored to His House.
This is my heart. This is who I am. This is what I pray will come to America. For the cause of Christ, I will bleed.