Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Am I Seeker Sensitive?

I had a conversation with some folks recently about my philosophy of preaching and I thought it might interest some people, at least who attend Cedarbrook. It got started as we talked about whether Cedarbrook is a "seeker" church or "seeker-sensitive".

You might not know this but churches often categorize themselves as "believer focused" (having the committed Christian in mind), "seeker focused" (having the spiritual seeker in mind), and "seeker sensitive" (having the believer in mind but also sensitive to the fact that there are seekers in the audience). Many people would say that Cedarbrook is a seeker church, but as is often the case, I reject being labeled.

In regard to preaching, my goal is to address the needs of seekers and believers because we are all human and as humans we share common needs. I don't like making distinctions because I think we have much more in common as just plain people than we care to admit. We all have fears, we all get angry, we all long for God (at least at some level), etc. etc. Maybe the best term for me is "people-sensitive".

While I'm teaching the seeker the basics, I'm trying to re-teach the believer because I don't think they necessarily see things from a biblical viewpoint. Many people learned about God, Jesus and faith through a very "works" oriented grid tinged with judgmentalism. I try to teach people how to think through a grid of grace. And I try to teach them how to do what they believe, not to just know what they believe.

Some people may not be used to how practical I am and confuse that with being seeker oriented. Maybe they think that believers should be taught more about what the Bible says and not spend so much time on the application - that the application is obvious. But the application isn't obvious. That's why believers get accused of being hypocrites. We talk a good game but we don't live it. More on this later...

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