While I understand many today will say that ‘seeker sensitive’ doesn’t necessarily mean watering down the Gospel message or that it’s about being sensitive to the unbeliever (seeker) coming into their church and wanting them to feel comfortable in order to have an opportunity to give their life to Christ, I would have to say the term ‘seeker sensitive’ in its general reference to the church, does not mean either of those things. It usually refers to a post-modern, feel good, hyped up, watered down message that is usually void of the words sin, hell and repentance and it refers to a church (building/sanctuary) outfitted with very modern décor, casual dress and a general image that is playing off society and the culture’s current trends-a knock-off of the world while still maintaining Christian elements without upsetting or offending anyone. It usually contains a somewhat shorter (not very deep theologically) topical sermon which is more of a self-help instructional than the Gospel message-usually littered with ‘Jesus loves you as you are’ and many other quips which are designed to make sinners feel comfortable in the Christian Church building. Edgy rock music is the genre of choice for worship with a general concert feel if you will.
Now with all that said, there are many churches out there which may label themselves ‘seeker sensitive’ but are none of these things I’ve mentioned. Their main desire is simply to get unbelievers in the door to hear the Gospel message so that they may be saved, disciple and sent out to the same for others. There are also many churches out there with some of these aspects (rock style music, casual dress, topical sermons, etc.) that are not seeker sensitive but rather are full gospel, Bible preaching churches.
I am personally not a fan of ‘seeker sensitive’ churches. I don’t believe in watering down the gospel to make the sinner feel comfortable. I know many will disagree with me and that is ok. I believe in preaching the whole truth of the Word. I do believe in reaching people where they are. I see nothing wrong with casual dress at times and topical sermons at times but I do believe we need to keep a reverence for the Lord-because it has truly been lost in much of the American church. Topical sermons are great at times but there is definite place and need for the expository sermon-the verse by verse exegetical breakdown of the scriptures because unfortunately today, most Christians are Biblically illiterate! Rock worship is fine so long as it’s done with sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, ushering the people unto praising and worshiping God in spirit and in truth!
Some say Jesus was ‘seeker sensitive’. I agree that He was but not in the way we use the term today. He was seeking to save those who were lost and He never watered down the message. He extended grace and mercy to those who were broken hearted and open to receiving but He was hard and unwavering to those who were confident in their own self-righteousness. That is the way we need to be also. It’s called the Gospel! Nothing wrong with being current and looking to get the lost thru the doors of our church building so long as we hold true the Word of God and the convictions of the Holy Spirit!