Seeker-sensitive vs Missional

Rick Warren-Purpose Driven Pastor

Rick Warren-Purpose Driven Pastor

Bill Hybels-Seeker Sensitive Pastor

Bill Hybels-Seeker Sensitive Pastor

Acts 20:26-27
Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, 27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.

Acts 2: 41-41
41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers

1 Corinthians 9: 19-22
19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

Philippians 2:4-8
4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

My View:
I will not refer to any definition outside the one that I can easily ascertained by means of the words only. It will be incomplete but it will be based on first impressions-which “seeker-sensitive” churches are trying to improve upon.

“Seeker sensitive” object is clearly the seeker-or the person who might become a regular attendee or later as a member. Missional however emphasizes the sender-missio dei. God sending His Son-which means the incarnation. So in the choosing of the word/s there is vast difference.

The model from Paul and the apostolic churhes emphasizes that he have something to say (Acts 20) -and he have to say it all and there are aspects that needs to be done in order for the church to really grow (Acts 2).

Pauline concern of following the incarnational model of Jesus is more of the process of growing and maturing as a person (Phils 2).It is not a strategy. It is a lifestyle.

The one relevant to both seeker-sensitive and missional perspective is in 1 Corinthians. However -this is a personal strategy of a missionary. He can change his personal lifestyle-for the sake of others. But he will not change the whole church lifestyle-without their volition-so they can reach those outside. But this does not mentioned what the seekers will do or not do once they were convinced of the claims of the gospels.

Those who believe Regulative Principle of Worship (RPW) and there are many extremist here-will charge not only accomodations but also capitulation to the secular views of worship. But these people are more of Pharisees type-who wants traditions and old-fashioned worship. You might think that proper worship is those that came from England in the 17th to the 19th century.

I believe in that there must be contemporary versions of the songs and forms of worship. It need not be ossified in the past. Cultural sensitivities must be exercised in deference to the Incarnational aspect of the Christian church and the missional pursuits given by the Lord to His people.

But to fail to feed the flock with his words-especially solely relying in topical studies-is preparing your flock for long-term dependence in the pastor for feeding. Expositional preaching is geared for the maturing of the flock. One can address contemporary concerns without neglecting the progressive redemptive, historical and lingustic background of the passages being quoted. There is no hope in the words of men-but only in the Word of God-when it is faithfully explained,illustrated and applied.

One confession can be seen at : , and I am quoting some parts of it here:
“I didn’t like the comment because it hurt my ego and I reacted much like a few of the pastors mentioned above in the article did. Because of my pride and insensitivity, I lost the ability to minister to many of the people in that church. I subsequently, and mistakenly resigned that pastorate and went off and planted a church where I could do things the way I wanted to.

I had a few very mature and loyal believers help me with the church-plant and we grew quite a bit in the first couple of years with many new converts. I preached on many “relevant topics” and people seemed satisfied. But, after about three years, we lost some really mature and capable people and guess what – I found out that they felt they were not being fed! These people were doing a lot of ministry in and out of the church. They were the teachers and leaders. But they were hungry for the deeper teaching that their I wasn’t giving them.

I was really devastated and since I knew these people were godly men and women, I really began to rethink my views. I spent the next half-year studying the Pastoral Epistles and many other relevant passages of Scripture and confirmed what I already knew – that it IS the job of the pastor to “feed the flock” Christ has given to him! Certainly, a good pastor will also teach the people under his care how to read, properly interpret and apply Scripture themselves (Eph 4:11-16). But if a pastor is a well-trained interpreter of the Bible, and he is growing deeper in his own understanding of God’s Word (and he ought to be), then he should share that deeper understanding with the rest of the church.

Since that time I have dedicated myself to the clear, applicational exposition of Scripture from the pulpit in my present ministry and I have seen God bless that effort as the people have grown and have become more mature and better equipped to minister to each other and also to effectively share their faith with the lost.”

Following Warren and Hybels without thorough study of the biblical passages will dilutes one’s theological principle why and how we do ministries. That is why I would commend Pastors Driscoll (baptist) and Keller (presbyterian) as better models for pastor to follow than the others.

Driscoll and Keller

Also, the problem of following the seeker-sensitive model is to cater to unbelievers and also the pastors to least common denominator theology. It is easier to preached a watered-down message. You just need to be lazy in your studies. However-to be have more-pizzaz in your preaching-One must also practice a lot and learn from others who do public speaking. So it is kind of lazy and demanding at the same time. The more you water down the content-you need to be better in your form.Once the pastor stop balancing his act-he will be addicted to that model which he will not be able to extricate himself easily.


2 responses to “Seeker-sensitive vs Missional

  1. Hi thanks for a great post. I’ll be back 🙂

  2. Robert Schuller and Rick Warren will always be remembered for the gospel they knew but didnt preach….In terms of deception, modern heresies and urban myths we still haven’t seen the last of purveyors of false gospels. As long as people are ready to eliminate sin, righteousness and judgement from their messages or salvation story we will always have a long list of substitutes. The result of these easy substitiutes leads to frustruation, embarrassment and shipwreck. (See article “The emperor steps out in his clothes..again” )

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