Seeker Sensible

Because there are non-Christians present in corporate worship meetings, people leading those meetings need to be hospitable to non-Christians. This would include the preacher presenting the gospel to the non-Christians, someone explaining why the church meetings have certain elements such as communion or singing, and explaining Christian terms in a way that allows the non-Christian to understand what the Bible says. This does not mean that the entire service is to be seeker-sensitive and designed mainly as an evangelistic rally, but a sincere effort is made to help non-Christians understand and experience the gospel.

via 6 Biblical Principles for Corporate Worship | The Resurgence.

This seems pretty reasonable to me… what do you think?  Is this the way YOUR church approaches your worship services?


  • Kim March 7, 2011 Reply

    I think the term “seeker – sensitive” can mean a lot of things. I agree our services should make non- christians feel welcome and I think we do have to be “sensitive” to the fact that not everybody may be familiar with terms and practices. BUT….when seeker sensitive means we water down what we believe and try to not make anyone feel uncomfortable….I do take issue with that. In our church we have had non believers come to us afterwards and tell us……..” they felt so moved during parts of the service and they don’t know why….it’s not like them to be “emotional” like that.” They don’t know how to put it into words that the Holy Spirit is working in their heart. I think non-christians can handle more than we sometimes think they can and when the and Presence of God is there in your service, that is what draws them back….not just an intellectual experience that they are able to process. Good post! :0)

    • Steve Miller March 7, 2011 Reply

      Good points! I love when a lost person comes to church and experiences God for the first time.

      I’m all for keeping the message undiluted but the form can be done with an eye and ear for the lost.

    • Eric (Mad Pastor) March 8, 2011 Reply

      I don’t think that being seeker sensitive means watering down what we believe. It is about meeting people where they are in order to bring them someplace deeper.

  • Ginger March 7, 2011 Reply

    I agree that being “seeker sensitive” doesn’t mean watered down. Often in my church experiences, I’ve felt “excluded” when a preacher says something like “You all know the story of . . .” only to leave me screaming on the inside “I don’t know that one!” They usually at least summarize the story before going on to make their point. Non-Christians know they don’t know it, but experiences like this don’t make them feel comfortable.

    That having been said, being a Christian is not all about being comfortable. However there are many things that can be said in different ways to facilitate openness and welcome.

    • Alan March 7, 2011 Reply


      Go ahead and scream that on the outside!

      It will definitely create a memorable learning moment — “no, not all know these stories” for him and, for you, whether he actually cares for people or just arrogantly enjoys his own edumacatedness.

      See, the real argument is whether the preacher is *people*-sensitive, overall! The *real* teacher/communicator is sensitive to ALL who have come to hear and learn.

  • Art March 8, 2011 Reply

    You know, not to be argumentative, but I keep hearing this (“when seeker sensitive means we water down what we believe and try to not make anyone feel uncomfortable”), but I cannot name one church I am familiar with that does this (and I’m familiar with a LOT of churches). I guess its out there, but I just don’t see it.

    To me this is just an excuse to keep doing things the way they’ve always been done so as to not overturn the apple cart and make our constituents (the tithing members) upset.

  • Pat Pope March 8, 2011 Reply

    This can and should not only be done for seekers but for people new to your community. There’s nothing like being new and not having people explain things. So many times we take so much for granted in our churches (like everyone knows where the fellowship hall is) that we neglect to properly include new people by explaining and pointing out certain things to them. It helps people to really feel included and part of the body when we take the time to do these seemingly small things.

  • Eric (Mad Pastor) March 8, 2011 Reply

    Where I pastor, I try to keep aware that there are people who don’t understand the dynamics of worship or understand Christianese language. That includes people who’ve attended for years. I try not to assume too much. I appreciate Ginger’s example above of the pastor saying, “You all know the story of…” I agree with Ginger, they don’t all know the story. (Though I do refer to things like Noah’s ark and the birth of Jesus without too much gap filling.)

    I try to include good instructions on the weekly program we hand out. I include directions on receiving communion as well as explaining it every time we take it. I also print out the words to the Lord’s Prayer in the program. I don’t want to assume people know it.

    I once visited a church where EVERY word spoken was printed in the program except the Lord’s Prayer. It was just assumed everyone knew it. I’ll assume those of you reading this will know it. Funny thing is, as a pastor, I stressed when we came to the part of debts/debtors, trespasses/trespassers. So where were my thoughts at that moment, on God or on my own acts?

    I try not to use big five dollar words when preaching. My job as pastor is to interpret those big words and concepts; sanctification, atonement, etc into a language that the people can understand.

    Having said all that, I’m demonstrating how I try to be seeker sensitive while bringing God’s Word to people.

  • davepatchin January 31, 2013 Reply

    Why must we repeatedly justify attempts to contextualize the Scripture to our unique audience? I sometimes feel that if the critics were around in Jesus’ time, they’d have attacked him for using parables to “water down” God’s judgment, and then scream about the feminization of God by comparing the King of Kings to a mother hen (Matt 22:37) We can either keep biblical truth trapped in the our preferred cultural and static contexts (KJV, 18th century hymns, seminarian terminology) or we can explain it in terms people grasp.

  • Chuck January 31, 2013 Reply

    I’m curious how a single sinner, under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, ever came to Christ in our corporate services before thoughts such as this one became a guiding principle.

    Passionate intercessory prayer, perhaps? The measure of a church’s powerful prayer life is seemingly being supplanted by encouragement to make non-Christians comfortable as a precondition to their confession of Christ as savior.

    Better to ask the Lord to create an atmosphere in which the Spirit’s presence convicts non-Christians of their sins so intensely they seek repentance far above understanding the liturgy, in my opinion.

    • Rick McGinniss January 31, 2013 Reply

      I think you might be setting up an either/or choice where there is no reason to do so. Why can’t there be both?

      The first great church growth movement happened when the Spirit caused disciples to speak in the (literal) language of people who had not yet heard the Gospel. Why would God not lead us to do the same today?

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