Does seeker-sensitive = purpose-driven?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by All about Grace, Jul 31, 2003.

  1. All about Grace

    All about Grace
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    In light of the ongoing debate regarding seeker-sensitive churches and purpose-driven churches (which are often lumped in the same category), I find these words, by one of the most influential evangelicals of modern times, very insightful. He is also the articulator of the purpose-driven philosophy -- Rick Warren himself.

    Great insight from a great man. [​IMG]
     
  2. USN2Pulpit

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    It seems that a purpose driven church would be "seeker-sensitive," But many seeker sensitive or seeker driven churches may not be "purpose driven."
     
  3. wizofoz

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    Then why do they stress adding members and increasing attendance so much?

    From http://www.purposedriven.com/content.aspx?typeID=3:

     
  4. All about Grace

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    The same reason Luke did:

    "Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day."

    "And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."

    "But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand."

    "More and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number."

    "In those days the number of disciples was increasing."

    "So the Word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith."

    "The the church ... was strengthened ... encouraged by the Holy Spirit ... grew in numbers."


    Evidently numbers are important because they stand as a testimony of what God has done ... thus the reason the 40 Days of Purpose campaign emphasizes what God has done at Saddleback and throughout the world.
     
  5. wizofoz

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    That's all well and good, I'm all for growth. But we need to make sure that the purpose is not to increase numbers, but to bring people to God. If only one comes to Jesus through their efforts, it's worth it.
    We should not base a church's success and health on its membership numbers.
     
  6. Pastor Larry

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    So should we assume that God is working at the Super Bowl?? How about at a company that increases sales and profits by several hundred percent each year??

    See there is a built in fallacy in this type of approach. Numbers are not always signs that God is blessing, just as lack of numbers is not always a sign that God is not blessing. This is far too simplistic an answer to a more complex question.

    PDC philosphy has some built in problems. At the heart of it, this distinction between seeker-sensitive and PD is a distinction without a difference. Everything about Warren's church screams out seeker sensitive, though seeker driven is a better term for it. Though he would make some distinction between himself and a place like Willow Creek or some of the other mega-churches, philosophically in real terms there is not much of a difference. I have read Warren and Hybels both on a number of things and have found some help from them. But one must be very wary. There are some serious issues that lie just beneath the surface, and sometimes don't even get beneath the surface.
     
  7. All about Grace

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    The only difference I see between these two statements might be one of motives, which is a personal heart matter and has nothing to do with PDC.

    Agreed.

    But the fact God blessed in such a tremendous way says a whole lot.

    Which is what Warren says in the article.

    However a healthy church is a growing church.
     
  8. All about Grace

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    It amazes me people still use this line of reasoning when responding to this issue. Is there not a better argument than this one that has been driven into the ground ad nauseam???

    No one argues that large numbers automatically mean God's blessing. That is a straw man. Neither can one argue against the fact that God's blessing is many times followed by numbers.

    Since Warren does not take the type of approach you ascribe, your point is moot. Never has Warren suggested he is right b/c of the size of his church (although it is a natural sign of God's blessing).

    The 5 purpose have nothing to do with numbers and everything to do with church health. Naturally a healthy church will be a growing church.

    Provide some substance with your fluff and then we can discuss it. Until then, these words are simply your own opinion.
     
  9. Pastor Larry

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    Not as much as it amazes me when I see people uncritically accept the tenets of the PDC movement. The theory is good. But the way that Warren practices it is, in many ways, problemmatic. These issues have been brought forth in a number of places. Perhaps if time allows later, I will rehearse some of them here.

    But they were directly related to your comments that numbers stand as evidence for what God has done. I gave explicit and undeniable refutations for that claim. Sometimes numbers do that, but not always, and probably not even usually, at least in the big scheme of things.

    They are the well-presented opinion of men far more discerning than I. They are far from fluff. They are certainly not my own opinion, though I share it. As I said, I think Warren has some good ideas, but they are far too often accepted uncritically, leading to serious problems. As I said, if time permits, perhaps there will be time to interact with some of this later.
     
  10. Wisdom Seeker

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    But I would consider a church's health in question if their numbers were decreasing.

    Numbers do tell a lot. Increased numbers could mean that people are seeking God. They also could mean that people are inviting them to church. A practice that surprises me is not more common.

    Isn't this one of those fine line arguements? You really have to look at more than numbers to make an assessment of anything. You have to ask why the numbers are high.

    Sure, high numbers mean that people are getting what they want, but it does not necessarily preclude that they are getting what they need.

    I find it astonishing how many Christians are against big churches or high salvation numbers. Forgive me for my naivete', but isn't that what God wants? That none should perish? It seems to me that we should be concerned that the numbers of unbelievers is still monumentally higher than the number of believers. That's the number that we should really be concerned with.
    _________________________________________________________________________________

    I'm a little fuzzy on what "Seeker Sensitive" means. I've rarely heard that term used in normal conversational english. Maybe someone could tell me succintly what the definition of this term is? As with most religious or church jargon, there really isn't a dictionary that a person can go to for it. And my church doesn't use this terminalogy...so I'm at a loss to understand it.
     
  11. Glory Bound

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    I'd be interested in hearing legitimate arguments against the PDC concept as well. Too often the arguments I've heard are based in a misunderstanding of the PDC model.

    Mentioning that Warren "has some good ideas, but they are far too often accepted uncritically, leading to serious problems" doesn't fault the PDC model - it faults mistaken application of the model. The fault is not Warren's, but those who carelessly attempt their own PDC arrangement.

    There are hundreds, if not thousands, of churches that have "serious problems" because they follow some traditional model "uncritically".
     
  12. All about Grace

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    Definition of seeker-sensitive: Being sensitive in the way you approach ministry to those who are in your midst who may be unbelievers.

    I often ask myself this question: does this method communicate the gospel clearly to one who does not understand the message itself?


    I have debated endlessly the accusations made against the PDC model. I have yet to find a legitimate gripe that is grounded upon biblical principles instead of personal preferences. As stated above, there are those who misuse the PDC model and take it to unintended extremes. But the sad reality is that there are multitudes of more churches that have no clue why they exist and live satisfied in the land of status quo.

    At least if a church takes the PDC approach or even the seeker-sensitive or seeker-driven approach to an unintended extreme, then the gospel is still being communicated and people are still becoming believers. On the other hand, those who are content to live in the land of the status quo become null and void.

    If I am going to err, I will err on the side of the gospel being proclaimed in as many methods as possible and not on the side of silence and contentment.

    BTW, I am not advocating an "end justifies the means" approach. I believe it is essential to pursue the 5 purposes correctly and in the right balance (which is what Warren avers).

    At the end of the day, God works thru presentation much more effectively than thru silence (even if we cannot agree with the method involved).


    I will be waiting Larry for those legitimate errors, but I will not be holding my breath for anything new.
     
  13. donnA

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    HAs anyone considered I wonder that as a church grows spiritualy, health is better in the church and it's members, there is more genuine worship, people are truely being saved, poeple are getting serious about their relationship with God, that the false beleivers may be driven away by the power of God in that church, and for a while reflect in lower numbers as God draws His people to Him and the church.
    Just a thought anyway.
     
  14. All about Grace

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    Part of the healthy church paradigm is evangelism and discipleship. A healthy church is an evangelizing and discipling church.
     
  15. ScottEmerson

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    We see this in the church written about in Acts. They grew daily, and were committed to sharing the gospel and reaching the lost. I may also add that a healthy church is a serving church. Sometimes that is left out, and that's sad.
     
  16. superdave

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    numbers are not a good indication of the health of a church, I attended one church that was growing immensely because of a boom of people moving into the area, they could not help but grow.

    The church I attend now is purpose driven, almost the identical philosophy in Rick Warren's book. But definately not what has come to be known as seeker-sensitive. Although for some reason, when your ministry is using a purpose driven philosophy, and is striving to be word centered in everything, you can't keep them away! Our church is growing and it is through people in the body reaching out and befriending those around them, and introducing them to our church and getting them founded in the word. Our pastor's basic strategy for growth. "The Word of God increased, and the number of disciples multiplied" If your church is healthy and focused correctly, there will be tremendous growth, if not in numbers per se, than in the maturity and commitment of the members.
     
  17. USN2Pulpit

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    Two passages: Matthew 22:37-40 (The Great Commandment) and Matthew 28:19-20 (The Great Commission); these are the principles that "Purpose Driven" is built around. Is there something ungodly about these purposes in the church?

    </font>
    • Worship - Love the Lord with all your heart.</font>
    • Ministry - Love your neighbor as yourself.</font>
    • Evangelism - Go and make disciples.</font>
    • Fellowship - Baptizing them...</font>
    • Discipleship - Teaching them to obey...</font>
    Even if you don't follow the Purpose Driven concept, certainly you cannot argue against these purposes of the church.
     
  18. donnA

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    Part of the healthy church paradigm is evangelism and discipleship. A healthy church is an evangelizing and discipling church. </font>[/QUOTE]I wasn't saying otherwise, but just asked about false beleivers going away when a church starts becoming healthy.
     

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