Over the past several years some new terms have surfaced in the Christian Church across our land. Two that are heard very often are Seeker Sensitive and Attractional. Under these banners some very large churches have come into being and are presently operating. In regard to being Seeker Sensitive many churches have attempted to glean from their gospel presentation things that might be offensive to first-time visitors to their church, things like sin, repentance, hell, the cross, the blood of Jesus, etc. To be Attractional is often translated into being hip and with it, in regard to architecture, technology, worship bands, atmosphere, etc.
As I study the scriptures, I do not see a Seeker Sensitive model anywhere, especially in the life and ministry of Jesus. Often, the words of Jesus turned people away when He got down to the nitty gritty of what following Him would look like and what it would cost. As far as being Attractional, the greatest testimony of Attractional Christianity I find in the Acts of the Apostles. What was it that drew people to the Apostle’s message, what was it made the church in Jerusalem come alive and shine forth to the extent that it was said, “Their numbers were increasing daily”? The chief attraction of the early church was the drawing power of the Holy Spirit that was manifested in Christians loving and serving one another.
Think of it, with no technology, no facility, no worship bands, and no promotion, that church went from 120 to 3,000 to 5,000 in less than a month’s time. This all happened through the preaching of the cross, the shed blood of Christ, a call to repentance and holy living. This church was devoted to the Apostles’ teaching, they were devoted to fellowship, they were devoted to prayer. And these were all done corporately. Their love for one another was so great that no one considered their own goods to be their own, but freely sold them and shared the proceeds when needs arose around them. One of the greatest testimonies of that church was, “There was not a needy one among them.”
This was all done without age-appropriate divisions of ministry, without Sunday Schools, Youth Groups, Singles Groups, Young Marrieds Fellowships, or Senior’s Groups. The church was one, they loved one another from the heart, they served one another from the heart, they shared their possessions freely with one another. Their gospel was not a word only gospel, it was a gospel saturated with the attractional power of the Holy Spirit. And as a result, Jerusalem was in awe (Acts 2:43).
In 1978 my family and I moved to Southeastern Utah to oversee the planting of a new church. During our first two years in Moab, we saw God do many miraculous things. To begin with, He took a handful of people and increased their number to 200 in a fairly short span of time. During those first years we met in an old American Legion Hall that was too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer. We had no public address system. The main meeting hall had concrete walls and floor so the echo in the room was incredible. During that time no one was coming to our services because of our building, our technology, or our worship band. They were being drawn by the power of the Holy Spirit and what it was He was doing in individual lives.
That being said, it does not mean that I do not appreciate the facility, the technology, and the creative gifts and talents that God has given us at Sierra Bible Church. I just always want to remember that people are saved by the drawing, convicting, and saving power of the Holy Spirit, never by man’s efforts or gimmicks. God could take away all of the props and programs tomorrow and His work would still go forward in the power of His grace. From the Book of Acts up to today, the greatest revivals that the Church has known have happened in times and places that did not have the facilities, the resources, the technology, or the mass communication that we have today. That is not to say that these things are not all tools that God can and will use when Holy Spirit anointed men and women take them up in His cause and for His glory. The internet, television, and radio are all tools that we can and should use in our proclamation of the Gospel, but may they always be seen simply as tools that have no drawing capacity within themselves. God’s plan still makes the most use of Spirit-filled individuals who are on mission for Christ, through whom His beauty and power is displayed as they seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.