Being Relevant

I was driving into town the other day and a sign by an exit caught my eye. It was a sign for a new church service. I only caught part of it in passing, but was somewhat concened by what I did see. The corner in big letters had REAL, RIGHT, RELEVANT! That’s a pretty bold statement.

This is an attempt to draw in people who may be discouraged from attending other churches. They may feel church isn’t relevant to their lives or situation. They may feel church is outdated.

It struck me as a bit insulting to other churches. Especially the real and right parts. Now, some churches are obviously cults or otherwise unBiblical, but this sign makes me wonder if they believe other churches are all fake and wrong except this one? Surely not!

Sure, you can change to a more contemporary form of service using a band instead a hymns. As long as it’s scripturally sound, the music form shouldn’t be the a very important issue. You could allow people to dress casual. (However, this was explained to me as being disrespectful. If you are invited to the king’s palace, would you wear shorts and a t-shirt? If not, then why would you to the King of Kings house?) You could even have Saturday evening service instead of Sunday. Then you wouldn’t have to take a full day off from the weekend for the Lord. These are ways some churches have changed to become more “relevant”.

However, this is the wrong way to approach the situation. It may increase attendance, but to change the church to be relevant to our lives is a slippery slope. This is how the argument of cultural relevancy comes in. It leads to an ala carte philosophy and a compromising approach to scripture.

Rather than changing church to be relevant to our lives, we should change our lives to be relevant to the church. We need to seek out ways we can change to be more Biblical. Sin should be called out, not explained away as culturally irrelevant.

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. -Romans 6:12

But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? -Galatians 2:14


3 Responses

  1. I think I fight this issue of “relevance” all the time. Being cultural and funky is not going to make for a Spirit-filled church; prayer will do that. Church feels like it isn’t relevant because the participants sit there like bumps on logs, thinking about everything but God. Onthe other hand, a church where people sang “Jesus Loves Me”, held hands and prayed together, and read scripture with meaning and with a heart searching for truth is going to relevant, no matter when, where and how they meet.

  2. This issue of being relevant refers to the way we do church not the message. Based on research by Lifeway, Baylor University, Ed Stezter and others there is a real problem with those between 18-30 leaving the church and not returning. One key factor with those who stay in the church is that they were actively involved in ministry as a teen and challanged to own their faith.

  3. Just last night, my pastor was speaking about faith being an action verb. As long as that holds true, the church is relevant. If you just sit in the seat not getting involved, it’s not relevant. No matter how contemporary or conservative the service.

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