Why Seeker-Sensitive Ministries Are So Foolish

(Photo by Rachel Lynette French on Unsplash)

A move of God in Jesse, West Virginia has left many wondering—how could any pastor promote seeker sensitive ministry?

This is what revival looks like. Surrendered hearts, holy fire, relentless worship. Intercession. Chains broken, healing happening, persistent people who are hungry for more.

Firebrands. Revivalists. Reformers. Revolutionaries.

Pursuing the face of God and His heart.

Different states, different intercessors, all coming together with one voice: a cry for the fire of God and revival to hit this land and shake the world.

May the flames of intercession never go out in Appalachia! —Sarah

I'm back home in Branson, Missouri after a weekend of indescribable fire. I was somewhere near the middle of nowhere in Jesse, West Virginia, and I'm still trembling in my spirit. The anointing and stirring of the Holy Spirit are radiating through me. The power of God descended in that remarkable mountain revival town and many are testifying that their entire lives have been transformed. They can never go back to life or church as usual!

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I experienced a church that actually had the guts to turn the Sunday service into a prayer meeting. I wrote about this in one of my most popular charismamag.com articles titled "5 Major Changes Coming to the Church."

Sunday services being transitioned into prayer meetings was one of the major changes I addressed. It happened in West Virginia that morning.

I had the honor of ministering alongside the man, Pastor Jay Morgan, who craves God so deeply that unbridled, uncontrolled fire on Sunday mornings is his only option. It was an amazing weekend at Appalachia Prayer Center Ministries that also featured Doug Abner, who was instrumental in a mighty move of God in Manchester, Kentucky. Read about that remarkable story in a Charisma News article here.

Prayer-Driven Sunday Services

So how can we shift the Sunday service to a prayer-driven event? It's quite simple:

At the church in Jesse, the service started with intense intercession, followed by a couple powerful worship songs. People were dancing, waving banners and blowing shofars. They were ready.

Then, as the musicians played over the people, we moved into decrees and declarations for revival in the Appalachian states. People were at the altar crying out, dancing and groaning in the Spirit. More prophetic intercession for revival filled the atmosphere and then, at least two hours into the service, I brought a powerful and challenging message. I ministered for the next hour and a half. A life-changing altar time followed, and people slowly and reluctantly started heading home at around 2:30 p.m. The presence of God in that unhurried Sunday morning service was simply indescribable. When the order of service is eliminated, and you just don't care whether people like what's happening or not, God takes over and clocks disappear.

During the God explosion that Sunday morning, I asked the people, "Who would rather have a mix of prophetic worship, prayer, decrees and the freedom to hit your face on the carpet for an hour or two instead of an hour of predictable, karaoke style worship?" They all shouted, "Yes!"

Pastors, it's not hard to do this. ... And it will cause the pretenders to finally leave your church. Those who are resistant to the depths of the Holy Spirit and the supernatural interruption to their comfort zones will leave, and you'll finally be able to advance toward an outpouring in great unity.

Pastor Jay transitioned his church from a seeker-sensitive ministry to one that couldn't be more opposite. The spirit of intercession in that place is rare, and I believe it's a model we need to pay attention to. I was wrecked watching that humble man of God lead the people as he was most definitely under the influence of some glorious new wine. The drunkenness was real, and it was holy. He couldn't leave the sanctuary after the first night of the summit, and remained in God's presence there until 6 a.m. When is the last time your pastor was so radically surrendered that he was saturated by God himself, fully drunk in the Holy Spirit? (I'm sure the religious crowd will be triggered by this question. That's OK. We need to provoke the resisters and invite them into the river!)

You can listen to the two messages from the summit in Jesse, West Virginia below, plus a raw podcast I recorded in my hotel room. I must warn you though, if you can't handle an aggressive, offensive message, you should skip them and go find some milk to drink.

Seeker Ministry Must Come to an End

The reason seeker-style ministry seems valid to some pastors is simple: They are attempting to introduce people to God the same way they know Him. It's a low-level, relational, logical and mostly natural connection.

When those leaders have an authentic, supernatural, indescribable, all-consuming encounter with the Holy Spirit, it becomes laughable and fully impossible to ever lead a seeker-sensitive church again.

I have proposed many times before, and I am doing so again—shut down the programs, quit focusing on visitor assimilation, give up the idol of church growth and eliminate everything that stands in the way of fervent, strategic and continual intercession. Our churches must become furnaces of Holy Spirit activity, supernatural houses of prayer and unapologetic champions of revival.

This shocking, shaking move of the Holy Spirit should be the norm for us as believers.

We don't want anything invented, imagined or exaggerated. We are yearning for the weighty manifest presence of God to rock our churches again.

Pastors, it's up to you: Do all you can to ensure everyone in your church is baptized in the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. The groans of the Spirit can be silent no longer!

The Manifestation of the Spirit of God

All you folks who are "super careful" and "discerning" regarding supernatural manifestations like falling out in the Spirit, shaking and so on, it's clear that some of you aren't being honest.

Just admit that you don't like it. It irritates you when you see it happen. The thought of it happening to you freaks you out. Becoming undignified is not an option. My heart breaks for you.

Further, for those who say it's not God, that it's a demon, that it's another spirit—remember, if we ask for a fish, God won't give us a snake. And, I believe I remember people accusing Jesus of having a demon. I wouldn't want to be those people.

The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is one sin that puts you beyond the realm of possibility for forgiveness. What is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? It's attributing a move of God to a demon. Of course, true Holy Spirit discernment is fully appropriate, but what many call discernment is little more than suspicious accusation in an attempt to control their spiritual experience and to limit others in theirs. Their eternities are at risk because of it.

John Burton has been developing and leading ministries for over 25 years and is a sought out teacher, prophetic messenger and revivalist. John has authored ten books, is a regular contributor to Charisma Magazine, has appeared on Christian television and radio and directed one of the primary internships at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City. A large and growing library of audio and video teachings, articles, books and other resources can be found on his website at www.burton.tv. John, his wife Amy and their five children live in Branson, Missouri.

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