First off, lets define the terms.
“Chreaster” – an urban neologism meant to designate those who attend worship services only on Christmas and Easter.
The seeker-friendly church – a movement that tries to reach out to the unsaved by using unorthodox methods to attract them into the church environment. These include state of the art audio-video technology, grand stage presence, entertaining shows, and rehearsed concert type worship; very common in larger churches with deep pockets.
The problem with the seeker approach to evangelism is that the Gospel is not always the epicenter of the affair. The unsaved are targeted using elements from the world to draw them in: a great show, a rock concert, a motivational speech, etc. The Gospel is then squeezed in hopefully at an opportune moment, but unfortunately, in many seeker environments the Gospel is diluted due to its unpopularity.
A message of repentance becomes one of love, and it is true, God is love, but He is also a consuming fire. A message that should denounce sin becomes one of acceptance, and so forth. And exclusivity via Jesus is rarely preached.
Here are some worrisome examples.
Controversial mega-church pastor Ed Young who is the author of the book Sexperiment, is also a trend-setter in the world of fashion and a contributor to pastorfashion.com. During last year’s Easter show he wore a metro-sexual outfit while showing a live lion and a lamb on the stage of his church. Needless to say animal rights folks were not happy.
Is that how the Gospel should be preached?
In another shocking example, Bay Area Fellowship, the largest church in Corpus Christi, was giving away flat-screen televisions, skateboards, Fender guitars, furniture and cars a couple of years ago at their Easter service. Image how many were drawn to that kind of giveaway. I sincerely hope they heard a message of repentance somewhere in there.
I’m not saying that giving away free stuff is inherently bad. I’m saying that Chreasters and people from the world are drawn to these churches for the wrong reasons.
Many of us are worried that these churches are not ministering to Chreasters in a Gospel-directed way. If the church competes with the world and its lights and sounds, the church will always lose. There is no competition when it comes to performing worldly things… the church makes itself look foolish when it tries to one-up the world by putting on entertainment shows.
Delight in Truth friend and follower Gabi Bogdan said it best on the topic of seeker friendly churches when he said that rock n’ roll is made for the world and Christians are terrible at rock ‘n roll!
There is no sense in using elements from the world to present the Gospel.
Chreasters know the message of the Gospel, but this message may have not yet fully convicted them.
A seeker-friendly approach will not help convict them either, it will just draw them for the wrong reasons.