*Guest post by Richard DeVeau*
Not this particular church here in Australia, the broader church.
In particular, the church in the US, where I live.
It seems the largest Christian movement in the 21st century is the seeker-friendly church. Some 40,000 churches in the US already follow this model. And about 400,000 pastors have attended seeker-friendly growth seminars.
Now, you may be asking yourself, so what’s wrong with reaching the unsaved for Christ? Isn’t this the great commission? Well, yes and no.
In Matthew 28:19 Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Disciples are not just converts, they are maturing followers of Christ.
While those Christ has called to Himself must enter the narrow gate and be saved, the new birth is only the beginning; it’s the doorway. It’s a very important doorway, but still just the doorway.
And we’re not meant to live in the doorway.
But seeker churches preach and teach only doorway theology.
It means the people attending these churches are simply not being fed anything more than a diet of milk.
A steady diet of nothing but milk leads to spiritual anorexia.
And I recently read something alarming about how seeker churches operate. Anyone in the congregation who complains to the leadership about this diet of doorway theology is encouraged to leave the church.
It means these churches will never be able to operate as the body of Christ, with every member functioning in the spiritual gifts each is provided for the edification and growth of the whole.
I believe that some spiritual growth must take place in the small groups that meet during the week at seeker churches. But what about the vast majority of people who only attend Sunday services?
If these churches continue to operate in this seeker-only model, they will never grow in maturity.
But they will grow in numbers.
Often, seeker churches grow into congregations reaching into the thousands. The fact of the matter is this formula works if your church’s goal is to simply add as many people as possible. And it’s easy to see why so many pastors are drawn to it.
But it’s the large numbers of people who will never grown in Christ that I find the most troubling aspect of this church model.
Spiritual maturity demands a more substantial diet of truth.
The gospel offends people. We are all sinners. Sin leads to hell. Christ suffered and died a horrible death in our place so that by His blood we are reconciled to God and become His child.
The gospel is not a feel-good message for this body of flesh we inhabit. Those who commit their lives to Christ are promised persecution, trials and tribulations by the world. Christ demands we take up our cross daily.
God disciplines His children when we need it.
Those who walk with Christ and allow Him to transform us soon learn there is essentially no true spiritual growth without pain.
If all these truths offend some people, I believe it is better to offend them with the truth than to tickle their ears and condemn them for eternity.
Spiritual maturity is hard work. Walking with Christ every day and seeking His guidance and will for our lives is not for the fainthearted. As God told Joshua, we need to “be strong and courageous” to live in the land.
But He doesn’t expect us to do it alone. We can draw great encouragement and comfort from the rest of this verse in Joshua 1, “for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
And in John 16:33, Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Preaching these truths in your church every Sunday will pretty much guarantee that you will not draw large numbers of people.
But I’d rather be with only a handful of others who are also looking to “become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ,” than be with thousands who are content to live only in the doorway and drink only milk.
How about you?
Richard lives west of Chicago. When he’s not writing fundraising and marketing copy for nonprofits and Christian ministries, you’ll find him painting in his studio. www.richarddeveauart.com