Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Five Fold Ministry Goofs of the Seeker Sensitive Movement (Part 5)

“I believe in being seeker sensitive, it’s just that I only believe in one Seeker”
Paul Washer
Question 4. Is there a correlation between a non Christian’s “felt needs” and what they really need?
A primary focus in the “seeker sensitive” model of reaching the community is that of “felt needs” or what a non Christian individual perceives as his primary needs. One church growth expert had this to say “It is . . . critical that we keep in mind a fundamental principle of Christian communication: the audience, not the message, is sovereign. If our advertising is going to stop people in the midst of hectic schedules and cause them to think about what we're saying, our message has to be adapted to the needs of the audience”[1]. “The audience . . . is sovereign”? I am still trying to figure out what Bible verse that is. Jesus obviously forgot the sovereignty of His audience when He told them that they needed to “eat His flesh and drink His blood”[2]. Let’s just say that attendance really dropped off significantly after that.

In theory, this kind of church meeting will have plenty of non Christian or “unchurched” people in attendance as they are the target audience. This target audience are often surveyed by the church to find out what their “felt needs” are. I would contend (having sat through many seeker sensitive meetings) that an initial focus on the audience’s felt needs actually subliminally affirms their felt needs as their primary needs. But the question remains as to whether what they really feel and what they really need are even remotely connected. Scripture has this to say of the unregenerate human mind “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned”[3]. Scripture also says that “They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart”[4].

Herein lies the disconnect between what the natural man desires and what he truly needs. What we need is righteousness[5], but human flesh drinks iniquity like water[6]. The first two chapters of Paul’s letter to the Romans inform us that the visible creation reveals the work of a Creator to an alienated world[7] and that the human conscience reveals God’s moral law written on our hearts[8]. Rather than ministering to the individual’s “felt needs” we need to reason from sin, righteousness, and judgment[9] in order to awaken that sleeping conscience (numb through continual sin[10]) that reveals our alienation from the Creator and need for righteousness.

To Be Continued tomorrow - where we will deal with Question 5:
What is truly relevant to the non Christian?

[1] George Barna – Marketing the Church p145
[2] John 6:53
[3] I Corinthians 2:14
[4] Ephesians 4:18
[5] Matthew 5:20
[6] Job 15:16
[7] Romans 1:20
[8] Romans 2:15
[9] John 16:8, Acts 24:25
[10] Romans 1:18

Go On To Part 6
Go Back To Part 4
Go Back To Part 1

1 comment:

Cameron Buettel said...

The natural unregenerate man is dead in trespasses and sin. How can he "feel" his true need of resurrection life.