Woke to Awake: Getting Battle Ready in the Seeker-Sensitive Age
By Col. David Giammona and Troy Anderson
It must have been the early 1980s when I (Col. David Giammona) first was introduced to Bill Hybels at Capital Christian Center in Sacramento, California by then pastor Glen Cole.
Hybels was there to speak to us about a new wave of ministry called “seeker sensitive.”
At the time, there was an excitement in the air as Hybels described all that was taking place at Willow Creek Community Church in the suburbs of Chicago. He called it the seeker sensitive movement, making church relevant to the unchurched with hip music, art, lights, drama, and excitement.
In hindsight, Hybels later admitted in connection with the findings of a survey detailed in a book co-authored by an executive pastor at the church — Reveal: Where Are You? — that the seeker sensitive church wasn’t working.
Indeed, seeker sensitive churches and their progeny, the make-me-feel-good small groups, the what’s-in-it-for-me people, the relevant culture people, and such, are not what the Lord intended to represent Him. Why? We will look at that in this article that ran on BizPac Review (4 million readers): https://www.bizpacreview.com/2022/08/24/woke-to-awake-getting-battle-ready-in-the-seeker-sensitive-age-1276951/.
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‘Go and Make Disciples of All Nations’ not ‘Make Them Feel as Comfortable as Possible’
First, let’s examine the last command the Lord gave the disciples before His ascension into Heaven: “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).
What He didn’t say is also very important as well. He didn’t say, “Whatever the culture of the days is, follow that.” He didn’t say, “Preach whatever makes people feel good.” And He did not say, “Go and make converts and make them as comfortable as possible.”
He did say, however, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).
What Hybels and many others today have attempted to do is mix heavy cultural influence along with corporate leadership models to administrate a quasi-corporate church model that does not readily represent the church of Jesus Christ.
The reason for this may be found in a survey recently released by the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University that found only 37 percent of pastors in the United States hold a biblical worldview while 62 percent hold a hybrid worldview known as “syncretism.”
“It’s just further evidence that the culture is influencing the American church much more than Christian churches are influencing the culture,” CRC Director of Research George Barna said.
Only 12 Percent of Youth Pastors have a Biblical Worldview
One of the more concerning revelations from the research is the worldview of pastors who work with young people. The study found that only 12 percent of children’s and youth pastors hold a biblical worldview.
“A person’s worldview primarily develops before the age of 13, then goes through a period of refinement during their teens and twenties. Therefore, from a worldview development perspective, a church’s most important ministers are the children’s pastor and the youth pastor,” Barna said.
“Discovering that seven out of every eight of those pastors lack a biblical worldview helps to explain why so few among the nation’s youngest generations are developing a heart and mind for biblical principles and ways of life, and why our society seems to have run wild over the last decade.”
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The mainstream church and even some evangelical denominations in the United States, Europe, and other parts of the world have chosen to follow the culture rather than Christ.
There are many other reasons for this: a non-biblical worldview coupled with the penchant to be relevant, the need to be embraced by the culture, not wanting to offend those in the pews, and wanting to attract the masses, leading to a weak, watered-down message catering to the masses.
Youth Abandoning Church in Droves Amid Watered-Down Messages
This has had just the opposite effect than catering to the masses. The churches appetite for relevance, along with a stay-at-home mentality that developed during the pandemic, has caused many, especially Millennials and Generation Z, to abandon the church in droves.
It is our conviction that people want and need the biblical truth to lead them to salvation in Christ. In years past, pastors have bent over backwards to make the Gospel palatable with “easy believe-ism” that says you can live however you want so long as you acknowledge Christ as savior. Or, as many evangelicals have essentially proclaimed, “Come to Christ and your life will become smooth and easy.”
But that is not the Gospel. Jesus said that to follow Him, even though you will have eternal life, you may be persecuted for your faith. Matthew 5:10-12 states the following: “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
The Narrow Path to Heaven and Getting Battle Ready
You may ask the question then, what’s in it for me? What benefits will I get by following Jesus. The answer is: many!
You will inherit eternal life with Christ in the future and will have joy unspeakable and peace that passes all understanding. Yes, you may have to suffer now, but we must all take the eternal perspective.
So, the next question is why has the church gone woke? Why are pastors either afraid of preaching the truths of the Gospel, afraid of what their congregants think, or fearful of the culture?
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Maybe it’s because we live in a democracy where everyone gets a vote, the masses can influence leaders, the populace can demand their way, but democracy is not the way of the cross, the life of self-denial, and the narrow path to heaven and ultimate victory.
Many Never See War, Conflict, the Brutality of Man
Many in our culture and way of life have never seen war, conflict, the brutality of man.
Most don’t even see death; it’s been sanitized to the point that most of the time the doctors and nurses in the hospital cover the corpse and get it into the morgue as soon as possible.
Yes, we are a culture of violence on television and the movies, but it’s all on the screen, not real life. To be truly ready for this present darkness, as the Bible dictates, the church need to take in its true mission, the mantle of leadership of all things moral, right, and good.
The church needs to become battle ready against the dark powers that rule the unseen realm — that realm where real conviction takes place between good and evil, light and dark, heaven and hell.
As the Apostle Paul states in Ephesians 6:11-12:
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
In our bestsellers The Military Guide to Armageddon and The Military Guide to Disarming Deception, we explore in great depth how believers can become battle ready soldiers of Christ in these end times.
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The woke church is irrelevant, powerless, and broken. We are calling for those who hear the truth to take up the mantle of faith and fight the good fight until He who is coming arrives in the shining glorious power of His might.
U.S. Army Chaplain (Col.) David Giammona is an end-times expert, scholar, author, writer, speaker, and president of Battle Ready Ministries. He is co-author with Troy Anderson of the bestsellers The Military Guide to Armageddon and The Military Guide to Disarming Deception. Find out more at www.davidjgiammona.com and www.battle-ready.org.
Troy Anderson is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated investigative journalist, bestselling co-author of many books, vice president of Battle Ready Ministries, executive editor of The Return International, and former executive editor of Charisma magazine and Charisma Media and reporter at the Los Angeles Daily News. Find out more at www.troyanderson.us and www.battle-ready.org.
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