From the Reading Room
I have read Gary Gilley’s This Little Church Went to Market of which affirmed discernment of the seeker-sensitive methodology prevelant in the Emerging Emergent Church that has now, of course, fully Emerged on the “Wrong Foundation.”
The seeker-sensitive experts would defend marketing as a tool they use to attract more unchurched Harrys to hear the gospel. ‘Methods change, the message stays the same’ being the cliche. What they do not seem to understand is that the message will ultimately be shaped by the method!
This is especially true of marketing since it ‘shapes how one views the world. People become “consumers” and “target audiences” These consumers have “felt needs,” which “research” discovers in order to modify the “product” to meet their needs.’
There exists an important difference between the New Testament church and the new-paradigm church. The church, the New Testament church teaches, has as its aspiration the glorification of God and the training of his people concerning how to please him. In the process needs may very well be met but the primary purpose of the church is not to meet people’s needs (except the need for righteousness). In the seeker-sensitive church, ‘needs’ reign supreme; God exists to meet Harry’s needs. Harry comes to Christ, not to glorify him, but to find the promised fulfilment and happiness in this life. When Harry is attracted through a ‘felt need’ philosophy, he will not be retained when that approach is no longer used. In other words, if Harry is drawn to the church in order to get, in order to satisfy his flesh, he is not likely to stay around when and if he discovers that Christ calls for him to lose his life for Christ’s sake (Matthew 16:25). The result is that churches which have been built on the quagmire of the superficial must remain superficial if they hope to retain their Harrys and Marys.