The Pen

Polemics Term: Seeker Sensual


Led by Bill Hybels and Willow Creek Community Church, the “Seeker Friendly Movement” developed as a means to help churches reach people not ordinarily inclined to religion. The concept is that there are “seekers” who are looking for something, and that their pursuit for that “something” than be capitalized upon by the church, who can lead them to Jesus and ultimate fulfillment.
The problem with the Seeker Friendly Movement is that churches are inclined to give messages that are more likely to draw and impress, but less likely to convert and save. Secondly, the intention seems operate irrespective of a Biblical anthropology, that there “are none who seeketh” after God and good (Romans 3:11). For a fuller understanding of the Seeker Sensitive Church movement, watch the free documentary, Church of the Tares.


Seeker Sensual is a play-on-words of the popular Church Growth Movement (CGM) term, Seeker-Sensitive. To the best of our knowledge, it was first coined by Chris Rosebrough of Pirate Christian Radio.
The term refers to the tendency of many in the Seeker Friendly movement to attract crowds through sensuality (an appeal to the senses), in violation of the Scripture’s clear commands.

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Peter 2)

The term, “sensuality,” refers to their focusing on self and their senses. While not always referring to sexual sensuality, the term can refer to that, but can also refer to things like sight, touch, taste and sound being gratifying and prioritized experientially.
Attracting people to church by appealing to their senses, lusts, carnal or fleshly desires is being Seeker Sensual.