Loving Questions for Pastors of Seeker-Sensitive Churches #4
Will the seeker-sensitive model ultimately be unable to keep up with the culture? What follows is a very important statement in one pastor’s account of his seeker-sensitive church:
Since our beginning in 1975, we have been known as a church for the baby boomer generation, and we have geared our outreach specifically to that group. But a new generation with distinct needs and biases seems to require a new approach. Generation X, the baby busters, are suspicious of the very ministry methods that have proven so effective in reaching their parents. Shaping an effective ministry to them—a challenge we could not have envisioned five years ago—is one of our goals the next few years.
Why is this paragraph so important? Because it admits that a seeker-sensitive church is fundamentally defined by who it can reach. In a desire to remove artificial barriers in one generation, it creates them for the next generation. Barriers removed for the baby boomers are barriers established for Generation X and so forth. The result is a church constantly struggling to meet the changing demands of the culture; struggling to ensure the gospel is perceived as being central; struggling to unite church members who, not only came into the church with different backgrounds but who were brought into the church through different means. When the church is no longer able to keep up with the culture, does it fail to be a church? This is the question begged by a philosophy of ministry based on the needs of a generation instead of the demands of the gospel. Will the seeker-sensitive model ultimately be unable to keep up with the culture?