Friday, May 15, 2009

Irrelevant Language

Over the past few months God has been doing something powerful in me. While it is powerful I am finding myself changing. I have always been and will always be unapologetically pentecostal. However, many of the things we pentecostals do, in the name of being pentecostal, reeks of irrelevance! The language we use and the way we portray Christ would send most seekers running away from instead of to Christ.

We have been searching for ways to cherish our deep pentecostal heritage while at the same time presenting Christ in a relevant manner to those that don't know him and that may not be familiar with our pentecostal antics.

Now for those of you that think I am running off the deep end and going "seeker"... Well I AM! Shouldn't we do everything we can to reach the "seekers"? Isn't that what the Great Commission is all about? Didn't Jesus come to seek and save that which is lost?

However, I am not leaving my pentecostal roots or beliefs. I STILL pray in tongues. I STILL prophesy. I STILL confess the word. I STILL get lost in passionate praise & worship. I STILL follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. What I REFUSE to do is become one of those spooky kind of people!

I have a heart for SOULS! I want to see people become true followers of Christ. I want lives to be changed! And I don't want to freak them out in the process!!!

So come on folks, let's stop being super-freakishly spiritual and live out our faith in a REAL way. After all, that's what Jesus did.


  1. Great word. Same challenge we have been trying to work out for almost 2 years now. Days you feel like you kick your heritage to the curb and other days you know the Holy Spirit was pleased. Tough, but doable I believe!

  2. What is seeker sensitive?

  3. It depends on who you ask. From the camp that I come from, it is used in a negative way. My understanding of it now is very positive.

    Seeker sensitive is a term used to describe a stlye of church that is very laid back and entertaining in nature. They go out of their way to make those who are not a part of the church feel comfortable.

  4. Acts 2:36-39

    36 "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."

    37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?"

    38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off — for all whom the Lord our God will call."

    "Cut to the heart" -- comfortable? Uncomfortable? Those pentecostals didn't scare people, they got people's attention.

    The church went from 120 to 3,120 in one outreach where the guy gave a scathing word from God.

    Productive or unproductive?

    I saw your blog on someone's facebook and came to see it. Just dialogue.

    One more thing -- you said Jesus is "seeking" -- then what it a "seeker" church? People oriented or Jesus oriented? Just questions from someone wanting to be enlightened.

  5. I agree that we can NOT water down the word. (If you came to our church you would see that we definitely don't do that.) However, we should present the gospel in ways that are relevant to the hearer. When Jesus was with farmers He likened the Kingdom to farming and planting seed. When he was with fishermen, He likened it to catching fish.

    We must remained a church that is focused on what Jesus was focused on... people. We call them seekers. Actually we are facilitating a set up... a place where Jesus can impact them. That's what it's about.

  6. By the way, I love conversation. No offense here. This is what blogging is all about. Thanks!

  7. So, if I came to your church a year ago and them came now, what would be "different"?

    In your new frame of mind, what are you going to do different?

    Did you guys do freaky stuff like snakes or something?

  8. We are still the same church. There was nothing wrong with the way church was done a year ago. I am simply talking about what God is doing in me.

    One thing that I think should be different (and we are not perfect in this) is some of the words and phrases we use. It is nothing more than a subculture. People in the workplace or in a shopping mall or restaurant wouldn't speak like that.

    We are making a conscious effort to use language that those who aren't "churched" would use to help everyone understand the principles that Jesus taught.

    We don't do "freaky" stuff. We don't handle snakes or drink poison or anything. I am just thinking out loud the processes that God is taking me through.

  9. Okay, I'm trying to track with you. The difference between a "seeker" church and a normal "pentecostal" church is lingo? I mean is it like a King James vs NIV deal? You just lose the thee's and thou's?

    So, the "way" you talk is the major diff?

    I'm kinda confused (maybe it's just me). Your blog post seemed like some major change was going to take place in your or wherever your church is. I was expecting some radical insight.

    So, surely, you've got more in mind than dropping the old words outta my grandma's bible.

  10. It has a lot to do with lingo. That's for sure. I think the "look" of the church has to change. We can't look like your grandmas church either.

    Pentecostals do a lot of screaming and shaking and other "wierd" stuff that those outside the ranks of pentecostalism wouldn't understand. And while I'm not condemning that for them, I think that to be able to reach our generation (which is largely unchurched) that stuff isn't going to fly.

    Are WE being offensive or is the message of the cross offending. If it is US who are doing the offending then it is needless. If it is the cross, everyone has to grapple with that offense.

  11. Okay, so you lose the steeple off grandma's church. I'm cool with that.

    What about all that hand clapping, standing, and singing stuff. That gets old real fast. you guys do that?

  12. Listen, if you have a problem with pentecostals then you'll probably have a problem with us. We sing, stand, clap, dance, jump. We are very demonstrative in our worship.

    We don't, however, use your grandma's music. We are very urban, contemporary in style. We like it loud as well.

    I'm not talking about worship styles. I'm talking about kooky stuff. (Which we don't do.) This is my way of processing what God is doing in me as a leader and my church as a whole. It is not my way of trying to prove what we do or why we do it.

  13. my b man. didn't mean to rub you wrong.

    I was just "seeking" some info. Maybe that's just not something I'm accustomed to. Sorry.

  14. It's cool. I'm good. Willing to talk but not into debating.

  15. Enjoyed and agreed with your blog today. I grew up methodist then at 13 got saved and started going to a Non Denominational church which grew to 10,000 people really fast then after 25 years changes overnight to a seeker friendly style of service, they lost half of the members but regained membership over the past few years. SF got a bad name in many circles but I have grown to think that in some ways its not actually a wrong way of thinking.You dont have to follow a totally SF format, just use the useful things and discard the rest.Keep up the good work your doing!

  16. Jamie,

    Thanks for the encouraging post. I can say that I don't agree with everything that the SF movement has done. However, there is a lot that we can learn from them. (There is a lot we can learn from every movement.) Thank you for the inside look that you gave us in this movement with such a balanced look.