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How Hard Is It to Quit Revivalism?

We usually hear about churches embracing lasers, fog machines, and other gimmicks and experiencing massive swelling in attendance. We occasionally hear about other churches that have grown tired of such gimmicks. In many of those cases the tendency is to pirate older practices from stable traditions and turn them into new gimmicks: this is why we see megachurches celebrating Lent or painting icons, for example. In the long run, however, the observant observer may see the cynicism in such an approach: catering church doctrine and/or church practice to the appetites of unbelievers in exchange for earthly gain has been with us since the days of Simon Magus. Whether the sale of indulgences or the Purpose Driven Church, man-centered religion we will always have with us.

It is surprising, however, when mainline churches do it too. As told in this article by Dustin Messer on The Gospel Coalition, even liberals are succumbing to the appeal of the cynical customer retention strategies of the mid-1990’s.

Dustin Messer |‘Progressive’ Churches Return to Seeker-Sensitive Model


About Christopher Ames

Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Boyceville, Wisconsin. Bicycle owner and operator. I used to play in a Campus Crusade band.

3 Responses to How Hard Is It to Quit Revivalism?

  1. I love that quote. He’d know about as well as anybody, I suppose.

    What is interesting about it is that just about EVERY American church is either consciously or unconsciously following the seeker-sensitive model. A church has to very consciously opt out of it.

    In an environment like the American church today, the only way for one church to outstrip another in attendance is to spend more money on their attractions. The small church that can only afford one purple light and can’t find anyone to thump on the drum box thingy while the fifteen people hum along with “Oceans” is no less seeker-sensitive than the megachurches that hire professional musicians from local bands.

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