What Are You Seeking?
I've written a lot this year on what one could call a philosophy of ministry. It may not be the subject matter that every believer thinks about on a day to day basis, but as a church planter it is always on my mind. And I share these thoughts with you, the church, because no one plants alone. It is good for you all to think through these things with me, and catch a vision of how we want to go about ministry as Redeemer here in Kelowna. Lately I have talked about growing God's way, not being steered by pragmatism, not being a consumeristic church, and preaching with power. Here are links to those past blogs:
Down With Consumerism:http://redeemerbaptist.ca/resources/the-pastors-blog/down-with-consumerism
Preaching With Power:http://redeemerbaptist.ca/resources/the-pastors-blog/preaching-with-power
The thread that runs through them all is that we depend on God for the growth of His church. And with that, we do not depend on the arm of the flesh, our own methods and human wisdom, to achieve God's Spirit-empowered ends. Jesus said, "Apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). And so we abide in Him, leaning on Him for the strength and the help that we need to do His work. Like we read in Zechariah, it is "not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts" (Zechariah 4:6).
This dependence on God leads us to seek Him and to want what He wants for us. We are no longer concerned with doing "whatever works" to get people in the door. We are no longer concerned with what the "seekers" are looking for. We are concerned with what God wants for the worship of His people.
Jesus' first words recorded in the gospel of John are spoken to two disciples of John the Baptist. These two men, one of them Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, leave John and come to follow Jesus. We read, "Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, 'What are you seeking?'" (John 1:38).
This is a good question to ask yourself when you come to church – what are you seeking?
And as a pastor it is my job to not give you simply what you are seeking in your flesh. That is the error of the seeker-sensitive mega-church movement. But my job is to bring God's Word to bear on your very desires themselves – calling you to seek God's face. As we read in the Psalms – "You have said, 'Seek my face.' My heart says to you, 'Your face, Lord, do I seek.'" (Psalm 27:8).
If the church is to be attractive, let it be attractive in a completely different way than the seeker-sensitive model. I would want the seeker who comes in our doors to not find all that we do and say familiar to him. Rather I would want that man to be overwhelmed with a sense of awe from the holiness of the place, from the spiritual life and presence of God that is felt here. We want the Spirit of God to stir in the seeker new desires that without Him simply aren't there. He should find in the church something completely different than what he finds in the world.
If he wants a rock concert, the world is selling tickets. If he wants a motivational speech, he can find something uplifting online. If he wants a social club, the country club is receiving new members. But if he wants to catch a glimpse of something above and beyond this world – let him come to church. If he wants to know the God who made him, if he wants to find satisfaction for the deepest longing of the human heart – let him come to church. Here we have the Ancient Story. He we sing the strongest songs. Here we meet the King who reigns. Here we find stirring and strength from the Spirit of God. Is that what you are seeking? Because that is all we've got on the menu. There is nothing else on tap. We have God's Word. We have bread and wine. We have worship of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ. We have each other as His body and bride here on earth. If you want that, then come. If you don't want that, then come, and God just might by His Spirit transform your desires – and you will find what you were not looking for.
The church is something else entirely. It is holy. It is sacred. Let us not throw that away as Christians. We should lean into that strangeness. The world does not need more of the world – it needs Christ.
In a sense we want to be like Elijah and pour water over the altar (see 1 Kings 18). When the fire falls, it will only be because God did it. We are not giving the world what it already wants. If they begin to flock to church – we know it is not because of our smooth words, our sophisticated social media campaign, or our hype team. No, they will come because God is turning their hearts back to Him. And in that all the glory will go to Him. We would have it no other way.
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