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Worshipping The Seeker
September 28, 2004
I believe our churches need to be seeker sensitive. There, I said it! And not just a little bit seeker sensitive either. I believe they should be wholly, entirely given over to the idea of seeker sensitivity, for this is the highest calling of a church.
Hear me out.
Seeker sensitivity in our day seems to be associated with shallowness in doctrine, in worship and even in Christian disciplines. We see churches packed to the rafters with people who have sought out and found entertainment in the church but the people show little evidence of any true life change. We see sermons that are no longer based on the Bible and address little more than people’s perceived felt needs. We hear songs that have little depth and substance and sound more like commercial jingles than songs that honor and praise a holy God. We see the most radical versions of these churches offering oil changes during the services and drive-in churches – doing anything to get people to listen to the message. They build an audience devoted to entertainment. We see the message being lost in the presentation. And this is what we call seeker sensitive today.
But that is not it. That is not the Biblical definition of seeker sensitivity.
John 4 contains a fascinating dialogue between Jesus and a Samaritan woman – a woman that Jesus’ own disciples were shocked that he would even speak to. Having surprised her by recounting some of her own life story, Jesus began to teach her about the true nature of worship. He then said “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”
Perhaps the King James renders this a little more clearly. It says “The hour is coming – yea, has already arrived!” God’s kingdom is both future and present. While we await the perfect consummation following the Lord’s return, even now we can be true worshippers, for the kingdom has already arrived. Even today we can worship God in spirit and truth. We worship in spirit because we are no longer tied to a specific physical location as the center of our worship. Before the time of Jesus’ incarnation, worship was centered in Jerusalem, but today we are free to worship anywhere. And second, we worship in truth when we worship God based on the clear teachings of His Word. We must worship God as He has revealed Himself in Scripture and using the methods He has revealed in His Word. Thus worshipping in spirit and in truth is worship that involves the whole heart and is in harmony with God’s revealed truth.
And now we get to the heart of seeker sensitivity. “…they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks.” Who is the seeker? None but God! Romans 3:11 tells us that “there is no one who seeks after God.” Our worship, then, is to be sensitive to the seeker: the One who seeks us. The Father is actively seeking those who worship Him in spirit and truth, for these are the kind of seekers the Father desires.
If God Himself is the one seeking worshippers, will He go where worship is shallow and meaningless? Will He associate Himself with those who are more concerned with pandering to the world than in truly honoring God; with entertaining the goats rather than feeding the sheep? No! Got will seek and will find those who worship Him the way He desires to be worshipped.
Seeker sensitive worship, then, is worship that honors the Father. It is worship that involves spirit and truth. It encourages us to worship with our whole hearts and encourages us to worship in the ways God has revealed in His Word. Truth is at its very heart and there is no room in seeker sensitive worship for anything less than the best. It seeks to honor God, not entertain men. There is no room for shallowness or of pandering to the needs of those who hate God. Seeker sensitive worship must be deep, wonderful and laced with God’s truth.
So let our worship seek to honor the Seeker. Let us build churches that are sensitive to the One who we are to glorify. He is to be our audience: an audience of One.