BECOMING A SEEKER FRIENDLY CHURCH
Matthew 6:33; Mark 2:1-12
Early last year we had a department leaders’ meeting to look at strategic planning for the years ahead at Nations.
Came up with a large list of things for us to work on.
At that meeting a group of 4 were asked to look at the development of a discipleship pathway that would be clearly visible & understandable for everyone.
Over the next year, a new mission statement was born, based on the direction we are heading as a church.
Here at Nations we are all about “Advancing the Kingdom”.
This is done in a progressive manner:
Seek … Grow … Serve … Go (Graphic on the screen)
Our Christian journey starts with seek … seeking meaning … seeking community … and eventually seeking Jesus.
Once we have entered a living relationship with Jesus we then must grow … personally … spiritually … relationally. Our Christian walk should become a walk of progressive growth.
Growing Christians need to find a place to serve … we need to discover our gifts … be released into active service … and build our effectiveness as we do so.
Lastly we need to go … to advance into a needy world … connect with un-churched people … and make an impact on them by how we live, what we do and what we say … to reach those who are seeking in such a way that they find Jesus in the process.
Wherever we are “at” today we can find a place in this process.
Our job, at Nations, is to help people discover where they are on their journey and help them to Advance the Kingdom in their life.
Today I want to look in a little more detail at the first step of our growth track … Seek.
1. SATISFACTION COMES WHEN WE SEEK THE RIGHT THING
People seek all sorts of things … pleasure, friendship, reality, truth, wealth, satisfaction.
Sometimes, however, life is like a game of “hide & seek” … always looking but never finding.
We think we know what we want, but no matter how hard we look, we can’t find it.
Mick Jagger put this so well in the 70’s: “I can’t get no satisfaction … & I’ve tried & I’ve tried & I’ve tried … I can’t get no no no!”
Why is this?
Vs. 33 “seek FIRST His kingdom … and all these things will be added”
We can only find what we really want & need in life if we look in the right place first.
People look and never find, because they are looking for the wrong thing, and looking in the wrong places.
They are looking for something but don’t know what that something is!
They are looking for something but don’t know where to find it.
Satisfaction only comes through a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
We were made to live for him & we only function well as human beings when we are doing it!
So the role of the Church must be to help seekers find what they are really looking for … to make it really easy for people who are seeking to find.
To make it easy for them to find the right thing whilst sometimes even looking for the wrong thing!
Unfortunately the church has got very good at “hide & seek” … we sometimes accidentally make it hard for people to find what they are really looking for. They come to us seeking all sorts of things … but often walk away not having found the thing they are REALLY looking for.
Why is this?
2. WE GET IN THE WAY!
Vs. 4 “Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd.”
The crowd who had gathered to “seek something from Jesus” actually got in the way.
This happened over & over again:
Zacchaeus had to climb a tree.
The woman who was bleeding had to push her way through the crowd.
And these guys had to dig a hole in the roof!!!
The crowd got in the way.
Who was this crowd? Why were they in the way?
a. Other “seekers”: They wanted something from Jesus … healing, to be near Him, to hear His Word.
They wanted something for themselves.
Nothing wrong in itself … but they didn’t notice someone with greater needs than theirs couldn’t get in.
We can do this too!
Conscious of our own need … our own circumstances … our own comfort levels … come to a meeting seeking something from God for ourselves … but so focused on what we want we forget the needs of those around us!
When we do that, WE GET IN THE WAY of a miracle!
Even our physical environment can get in the way (discuss)
b. Religious people: Vs. 6-7 Critical hearts. Looking for something to disagree with … churches have these too!
Worshipping their own opinions or non-essential theological positions.
As a result they, too, got in the road of the man with a genuine need.
This man had friends that pushed through the roof for him … but most aren’t that fortunate.
They go away disappointed. The “hide & seek” game keeps them from finding what they were really seeking.
When we come to church, what are we focusing on?
Do we make room for those with needs around us or are we accidentally, or due to religious attitudes, getting in the road?
Is all that we do and even our physical environment helping the genuine seekers get closer to Jesus or pushing them further away?
How can we at Nations become more “seeker friendly”?
Is it time we all came to meetings to give and not just to get?
Let’s begin to really take the “seek” aspect of our mission seriously.
Be genuine seekers ourselves & look for ways we can help other seekers find the real answer to their inner need … Jesus Himself