Sunday, August 06, 2006

Are We Seeker-Friendly?
Any response to this question could be just as perilous as responding to the wife who asks plaintively "am I gaining weight?" There are times when it is best to simply follow the example of the ostrich and bury your head in the sand, hoping that the danger will simply pass you by if you pretend it does not exist. If you answer in the affirmative, then half of us will bitingly wonder aloud if you care as much about doctrine as you do entertainment. But then if you should distance yourself from such activities then the other half of us will lambast you for not having the heart of Christ for the lost.

Seeker friendly. What if both sides are missing the point? What if the point isn't so much about our methods of church as it is about church itself. Why do we do all that we do, regardless of what it is we're doing.? These questions can well be applied to all manner of life, but in this context they are reserved for our ecclisiological activities.

Why do we do all that we do? In the manner that we do it? Should we change anything? Change nothing? Should we make minor modifcations to the basic structure of the service or change it all wholesale? What kind of people should be on stage? What kind of people should be leading off the stage? I hear a lot about the Acts church, and doing things in order to look more like the Acts church. How much, in truth, should we be a cookie cutter image of the 1st century church? How much should we be different, and in what way? I see a lot of differences in the churches just in my neighborhood-- how do I know which ones are the right one?

Seeker-friendly. Why do only the heathen, pagan, and atheist get to be the seekers? Why do they get to have all the fun of asking probing questions with no tangible answer anywhere in sight? I want to be a seeker. I feel a hunger growing inside of me--I long to sink my teeth into this whole concept of what it means that people are joined together by God to form the body of the God they worship when they gather in his name.

In short, I wish that every church were seeker friendly, but that it had nothing to do with one's approach to evangelism. We must question everything about how we do our particular form of worship; not out of a spirit of arrogant rebellion, but with sincere questions aimed at glorifying God in his excellence.

May we all remain seekers on life's journey of discovery--may we never consider our personal level of expertise to be the crest.


Blogger emergent alphaville said...

Hey, Tim. Great thoughts.

I wrote this (see below) just a little while ago for the elders to process through... It generated some really great dialogue. What do you think?

Is the use of the term “Seeker” biblical?

2 Key Questions:
1) Do “seekers” exist? or Is it unbiblical to refer to unbelievers as “seekers”?
2) Is there more than one kind of seeker?

2 Biblical Answers:
1) Do “seekers” exist? Yes. Some argue on the basis of Romans 3:11 (“there is no one who seeks after God”) that true “seekers” don’t exist. However, when understood in its proper context, careful exegesis shows that this passage is talking about how each of us—apart from Christ—are under sin’s power of guilt/condemnation—no exceptions. When the whole of God’s Word is put in the balance on the issue, the idea of seeking after God dances up and down the aisles in the pages of Scripture:
• 1 Ch 28:9—if you seek Him, He will be found
• 2 Ch 7:14—if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face, I will turn...
• 2 Ch 15:2—if you seek Him, He will be found
• Ps 15:4—seek His face always
• Ps 119:2—seek Him with all your heart
• Ps 119:10—I seek You with all my heart
• Pr 8:17—those who seek Me find Me
• Pr 28:5—those who seek the Lord understand [justice] fully
• Isa 55:6—seek the Lord while He may be found!
• Jer 29:13—you will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart
• Hos 10:12—it’s time to seek the Lord
• Amos 5:4—seek Me and live!
• Zeph 2:3—seek the Lord
• Mt 7:8—he who seeks finds
• Mt 6:33/Lk 12:31—seek first His kingdom and His righteousness...! (Note: Jesus to unbelievers!)(key text)
• Heb 11:6—God rewards those who earnestly seek Him

2) Is there more than one kind of seeker? Yes. We might say there are 2. First, there is the one seeking God because of God (AKA, unbelievers, those far from God) and, then, there are those who are seeking others on behalf of God (believers, those in Christ who follow Christ)!
UNBELIEVERS as Seekers: There are those apart from God who seek God. But, they do so because of God’s work in their hearts. Those who are seeking God because of God are the ones who are being drawn by God’s Spirit to seek after Him for salvation. This is the unbeliever who finds himself curious about God’s love, forgiveness and hope, the one who knows the answers to his life’s problems is not within himself but only in God, the one who realizes he has a God-shaped vacuum that only God can fill, the one far from God who is being drawn near to God by God. Apart from God’s grace this would be impossible. No one can seek after God without God graciously drawing him/her to Himself. "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him..." (Jn 6:44). " one can come to Me unless the Father has enabled him" (Jn 6:65b; cf. Jn 6:45). So, whenever men or women seek after God, it is God who enables them to do so; it is God who takes the initiative. And when we seek Him and draw near to Him, then He also draws near to us! (Jas 4:8—“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you!”)
BELIEVERS as Seekers: Then there are the seekers that seek others on behalf of God. This is the believer who is obedient to the Great Commission (Mt 28:19-20; Acts 1:8—which was also Christ’s primary life mission, see Lk 19:10). Not only is this God’s exhortation to us, but it’s also God’s example to us.
Interestingly, God Himself claims to be a Seeker: Jn 4:23—“...these are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” In fact, so does Jesus! In Luke 19:10 Jesus, the premiere Seeker, says, “The Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” We could, therefore, say that God and Jesus aren’t just “seeker friendly” (Note: JC is “the Friend of sinners”—Lk 7:34), but They’re seeker-obsessed! In light of this, the whole debate about whether to be a church that is seeker-friendly, -driven or –sensitive seems rather mute.
Since God is still seeking and Jesus Himself came as the Chief Seeker, shouldn’t we follow in God’s footsteps? Of course. And in that sense, this type of “seeker” is the true Christ-follower. It’s one who follows Christ’s example of seeking out those who are lost on behalf of God and bringing them to God. Paul captured this when he wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:20: “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” So, in their own unique ways, both believers and unbelievers can rightly & biblically be called “seekers.”

10:37 AM  

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