I am not a seeker-sensitive driven type of person. I think there are times when you have to give people what they need instead of what they want. I also believe that form, function, and message go hand in hand. The WAY we present the message says something about the message itself.
However, too many churches fail to listen to the general recommendations of the people attending the church. Most of what we do on a Sunday morning as a church is changeable (for one, because very little of it was directly handed down from Jesus and the Apostles).
If people don't show up to all church activities maybe it is time for the church leadership to realize that people have busy lives, they are overbooked (yes, maybe they should simplify), they don't like the activity, or they simply are not coming to it.
Here is a quote from a cell phone company that reminds us that we must be able to give people what they need in a way they can hear.
CNN.com - Making cell phones simple is hard - May 29, 2006: "On one recent day, a trio of researchers watched through one-way glass and overhead cameras as a volunteer navigated her way through a prototype program that lets parents set limits on their children's phone use.
The observers monitored how many steps it took for the woman to make the program work, how easily she made mistakes and how quickly she could get herself out of trouble. The results could be used to further tweak the program, said Robert Moritz, director of device development.
'If you bring somebody in and they have problems, it's not because they're dumb, but we were dumb with the design,' Moritz said, adding that the lab typically tests devices and programs with up to 50 users over three to nine months. The company also uses focus groups to determine what people want from their phones and what they say needs fixing."
In writing the above post, I got to thinking about the role of the priest and the prophet in the Old Testament. The priest led the people in the worship, and the prophets proclaimed God's message from outside. The priest led the day-to-day worship, and the prophet spoke from outside the system. Here is an interview with Eugene Peterson (biblical translator of the The Message) on Bono and U2 being prophetic and some of the differences between prophet and priest.