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Bill Hybels¬†, the unofficial father of the seeker movement in the United States, recently admitted that seeker churches have done a very poor job¬†of making disciples.¬† This is damning because¬†making disciples is what¬†Jesus commanded us to do!¬†¬†Why has the seeker movement¬†failed in the church’s central purpose?

I attended a seeker church this past weekend.  As I was sitting there watching the pastor perform his way through his presentation, props, film clips and all, the thought struck me that the seeker church is in many ways a Protestant form of Roman Catholicism (I grew up Roman Catholic and the Roman Catholic church is having the same problem).  I know the connection is not immediately obvious because of the major differences in liturgy, hierarchy and theology.  But there are several significant similarities:

  1. Time:¬† This won’t take long– 45 minutes to an hour, max.¬† You can set your watch by these services.¬† And if the pastor or priest goes just a wee bit longer, the congregation gets restless.
  2. The Bible:  Leave your Bible homeРthe folks on the stage or altar handle the Bible reading which is normally a mere sprinkling of verses yanked from their context.  Moreover, there is no attempt to teach you how to study the scriptures yourself.
  3. Worship:¬†¬†Just¬†watch– there is a performance up front.¬† You’re more of an observer than an active participant in worship.
  4. Message:¬† It’s groundhog day– you hear¬†the same, short message¬†repackaged every¬†Sunday.¬†¬†The sermon¬†(or¬†Homily) is to preaching what¬†cotton candy is to¬†nutrition.¬†¬†Sweet but of little value.
  5. Outcome:¬† Low commitment and little life change.¬†¬†A significant portion of¬†Roman Catholics disagree with official church teachings, and¬†Hybels’ own research shows the seeker movement has failed to produce disciples

Now before I get hate mail from my Roman Catholic and Seeker-oriented friends who can cite several exceptions, let me grant that there are exceptions, but they simply prove the rule.¬†¬†We’ve got to stop defending our church practices if they are not doing what Jesus told us to do.¬† If¬†you’re not making disciples, you’re¬†not doing church the way Jesus commanded it.¬† As Jesus warned, we can’t let our traditions nullify the Word of God.

Unfortunately,¬†most other denominations are¬†not doing much better.¬†¬†We’re loosing 75% of our young people because– instead of making disciples who are in awe of God and devoted to His purposes–¬†a majority of churches from most¬†¬†denominations¬†are¬†producing¬†shallow narcisists obsessed with themselves and their own happiness.

We fail to realize that¬†what we win them with we win them to.¬† If we win them with entertainment and low commitment, we win them to entertainment and low commitment.¬† Charles Spurgeon was way ahead of his time when he implored the church to start “feeding the sheep rather than amusing the goats.”

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