Are You A Seeker... Or Just Seeking the Seekers?

How 'bout a little soapbox for your Tuesday afternoon?

I was recently included in a group of ministers for a discussion of various and sundry topics in an online forum. I was, first of all, amused to be included, then honored and humbled.

Most of the members of this group are men who are currently serving as preachers/ pastors of a congregation. A few are other types of ministers on a church staff in some capacity, then a precious few of us are women in ministry. Missionaries or authors or... just me.

I have mostly been a fly on the wall for the conversations, soaking in the heart of these men who give their lives to tell others about Jesus and all the inherent struggles within. I have my ear tuned in to the "lingo" -- the code words that signify denomination or region or even current buzz words being tossed around (this group is fairly lacking in the buzz words -- for which I am eternally grateful).

Tuning into the lingo made me think of a not-very-recent buzz word/ catch phrase among churches that I think is dying out, by the grace of God. Not too many years ago, many of us were seeking to be "seeker-friendly churches." A quick scan of a few of the over 2.6 million entries that Google will produce for "seeker friendly church" shows that phrase to mean almost 2.6 million things, as well.

I'm not here to debate what YOU think it means and how YOUR church is or isn't doing it. I'm a word person. I was just considering the phrase itself. Back in the phrase's hay-day (hey-day? what kind of hay is a hay-day? I am stumped...) you would hear church leaders tossing around "how to be a seeker-friendly church" or " becoming a seeker-friendly church" or "blah blah blah seeker-friendly church." All the rage.

And I think I know why this phrase is dying out. Or, at least I hope I do... To me, the phrase "seeker-friendly" implies that "we have all the answers here, and if you are looking/ seeking, we want you to be happy finding them here. Here's a cappuccino." Again, I'm not talking about what YOU and/ or your church leaders decided behind locked doors that it meant -- I'm talking about what it sounds like to "the common man" when you post it on your sign out front (you didn't, did you?)

'Cause here's the deal. I'm a seeker. I'm the least of the seekers. I fall flat on my face and mess up and try to get it right just one day out of seven and rarely even get that. I am a regular church attender (seeker) looking for a body full of other seekers and mess-ups like myself. I'm seeking a church full of seekers seeking other seekers to seek beside. Because that is truly the best we can do on a daily basis.

I think to toss about phrases like "seeker-friendly" you would have to have in the back of your mind that you are no longer seeking yourself.  And that is the saddest place of all to be.

My disclaimer to all of the above -- buzz words/ catch phrases/ trite sayings are all fingernails on a chalkboard to me. Words have weight. Words have meaning, and you need to be sure of all of the meanings you are conveying as you start to toss about buzz words and catch phrases.

Let the floodgates open. Comments? Thoughts? Any other buzz words/ catch phrases that bug you? The floor is yours...


Scott F said...

I would like to say that "Catch Phrase" is a very fun game. ;)

Donna said...

Wow. I hadn't ever really thought about this before. Have I, a Christian for most of my life, ceased to be a seeker? I want to constantly grow and seek His face. I want to live my life in such a way that others can watch and follow as I seek, for together we will find.

Sarah said...

Scott, I don't know Catch Phrase... I don't think? but if it's words, you know I would love it! :-)

Donna, thanks for your comment. Yes, you said much more succinctly what I wanted to say: I just don't want to stop seeking, and I want to be in a body that is still seeking.

Design by Deluxe Designs