Seeker Sensitivity v. Hospitality

I recently posted on how I feel God is beginning to cultivate hospitality within me (slowly yet surely).

This interesting article from Leadership Journal says that the Church has thrown out hospitality in favor of being seeker-sensitive. The author makes a few interesting points, and I thought I’d pass it on to you as food for thought.

Here’s an excerpt (read the whole thing here):

“…in the modern age the church abandoned the traditional language of loving strangers in favor of a new dialect. We called it ‘seeker sensitivity.’ The seeker church movement has taken the Bedouin and monastic idea of hospitality (host first, ask questions later) and reversed it. Now, thanks to the influence of business practices and marketing, the church tries to discover everything possible about its target guests, and then hosts according to their predetermined expectations. The result has been a radical shift in the way Christians worship and express their devotion to Christ, and a dehumanizing of Christian hospitality.

“Where market research replaces the simple call to love strangers, the responsibility to be hospitable is no longer felt by individual members of the church—the music, sermon, and worship service have all been test-engineered to do the job instead. Market analysis has also shown that many people prefer to visit a church anonymously, so seeker-driven churches will often avoid identifying newcomers. Jesus may be among us in the form of a stranger, but we would never know it unless he filled out a response card.”

If you would like to further investigate this way of thinking regarding hospitality, I highly recommend a book which seems to stem from a similar point of view — Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition.

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3 thoughts on “Seeker Sensitivity v. Hospitality

  1. Great article to link to! I fully agree–I think hospitality is a Christian virtue to be exercised, not hidden under a bushel.

    I have a high interest in this subject as well, so I just ordered Making Room! It sounds right up my alley–and my husband’s. We have some inklings from the Lord that we may be called to start a Benedictine-style community of hospitality, retreat and teaching. Not sure when, but God seems to be preparing the way….

  2. Jeanne,
    Thanks so much for stopping by.
    I have to say that I am already pretty impressed with the links you sent me to your church a few months back, if you start a hospitality ministry, my family may simply HAVE to come to your town for a visit 🙂 I have SO MUCH to learn about hospitality…it does not come natural to me.
    Deborah

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