''Be Savior-Sensitive, Not Seeker-Sensitive''

by Bryan Cribb

“I’ve heard ‘seeker-sensitivism’ until I [have had it] up to here,” declared Richard Lee. “We ought to be Savior-sensitive churches, not seeker-sensitive churches,” said Lee, founder and pastor of First Redeemer Church in Cumming, Ga. “We’ve become so indoctrinated with the philosophy of church growth in this nation that we’ve forgotten what God says, and that’s ‘preach my Word’ and then your church is going to grow.” Lee, who formerly pastored Atlanta’s Rehoboth Baptist Church where he baptized more than 12,000 people, spoke at a church service in New Orleans prior to the opening of last summer’s annual Southern Baptist Convention. Warming to his theme, Lee said winning souls is at the very core of building a church. And soul-winning will never occur without faithful proclamation by gospel-centered pastors. “If you were to go to and look at the great soul-winning churches in America, you would find 100 percent of those preachers are preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Lee said. “When a man stands with a Bible in his hands and ‘thus saith the Lord’ on his lips and preaches the gospel, the lost come to Christ, wayward Christians come to repentance and the demons of hell, they shake.” Evangelism and gospel proclamation are so crucial, Lee said, that a church is not a church if its members do not actively seek to win souls. “Churches do not deserve to exist unless they’re winning souls to Christ,” he said. “Why? Because evangelism is the heart of what we’re about....There is no such thing as a church that is a great church that doesn’t constantly—not every now and then—win souls.” “The reason our Southern Baptist Convention is great is not because of programs or politics or organizations,” Lee said. “It’s because we’ve never been intimidated and we’ve never been afraid to win people to Jesus. “That may upset the pluralist,” he continued. “That may run against the liberal. That may go against the grain of the elitist. But friend…we’ve always been and should always be first of all an organization that wins folks to Jesus Christ.” Baptist Press