An article by William H. Willimon on the danger of focusing on felt needs:
We live in a consumer-driven, avaricious society where everything is turned into a commodity, even the gospel, and life is said to be fulfilled only through our choices, our ability to consumer cars and clothes and, even Christ. In such a climate, we must be careful about turning Sunday worship into just another opportunity to say, “Give me some of that.”
…Jesus is not simply about meeting my felt needs; he is also about rearranging my needs, not only about fulfilling my desires; he is also about transforming my desires. Jesus is wonderfully nonchalant about so many of my heart-felt desires. It’s amazing how many of my needs (material affluence, security, sexual fulfillment, happiness, etc.) appear not in the least to interest Jesus…
I recall that great preacher, William Sloane Coffin, telling us Yale students, “I don’t see how you can attract folk to Jesus by appealing to their basic selfishness – ‘Jesus can fix everything that’s wrong with you’ – and end up offering anything like the self-less, self-denying faith of Jesus.”
When, in Seeker Services, do we pull out the cross? When, as we’re touting all the benefits of Jesus, do we also say to them, “By the way, Jesus said that anyone who bought into his message would also suffer and die.”
I believe that today’s “Seekers” are seeking many things, but I am unsure that many of them are seeking a cruciform savior or a cruciform life. That’s fine since the Bible hardly ever, almost never depicts anybody seeking Jesus. Rather, the story is about God’s relentless seeking of us in Christ.