Is Your Relevance, Relevant?

Is Your Relevance, Relevant?

Posted on 01. Jun, 2009 by in Re-Imaging Church, Kingdom Lifestyle

Apostolic Notes Vol 3 No 6 (PDF Version)

One of the major topics today among church leaders it how to be relevant. This can translate into the idea that we should have an understanding of our current culture so that we can attract their attention, enticing them to come to the place we define as church. Be that a typical building, storefront, theater or coffee shop: the idea is that we desire to become appealing to the world culture by becoming like them.

A recent Google of “relevant + church” produced over 10M sites, each presenting some idea of being relevant. In an attempt to become relevant, there are those who are changing their dress code (you can now come casual), style of music (contemporary), lighting (dimmed or special effects), seating arraignment (tables & chairs), place of meeting, how they do announcements, how they give, or their leadership structure. Each is claiming to present themselves in a way that their culture can relate to. So with so many ideas and applications, what does it mean to be relevant?

Let’s look at the word relevant; according to Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary it has two components:
1. Relieving; lending aid or support.
2. Bearing upon, or properly applying to, the case in hand; pertinent; applicable.

Jesus’ teaching was relevant because it challenged the traditional religious paradigm of the Pharisees: and gave hope to the drunkard, the harlot, social outcasts and the common man. His ministry resonated with the people because it touched them where they were living.

So being relevant is more than non-traditional decorations, methods or structure: it is even more than being about an individual’s eternal destiny. It is presenting the message of our King and His kingdom is such a way that we show how it can have a direct impact upon the present situations of an individual’s life.

Regardless where we meet, structure, seating, lighting, music, decorations or any other “thing” we do: A relevant church, it’s message and life, is to have significant and demonstrable bearing on the world/culture/community in which it is placed.

  • What is the church? It is the body of Christ, which consists of born again individuals.
  • So… a relevant church is when we (YOU & I) begin having a significant and demonstrable bearing on OUR communities (personal, school, work, neighbors), culture and world
  • IF we are sons of God – exhibiting His nature, we will act or do the things He did. Jesus came preaching teaching and performing signs, wonders, healing all manner of disease and sicknesses.

Relevant is not about doing church different, it is about being different.

Food for thought
Am I being a relevant message to my community?

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

12 Responses to “Is Your Relevance, Relevant?”

  1. will of I-AM

    01. Jun, 2009

    good Word; I personally think JESUS said it clearly: be NOT conformed to the IMAGE of the World… revelant is being hated and viewed as an alien, living in the WORLD, but NOT being of this world and it’s sway… disciples, NOT church members, is what God is after… otherwise, we are ENEMIES of God, per the Word… harsh? – I think NOT… why? – if we KEEP doing the same old thing, then BILLIONS of souls, well perish in the Lake of FIRE, where HaSatan is destined… God is Love and Justice… Kindness and Severity; FALL on the ROCK and be cut to pieces OR if the Rock falls on you, you will be crushed to power… blessings and I enjoy your slant… true Apostles, of which I AM, by GRACE alone, understands the Kingdom and it’s within US (the rule and reign of the Holy Spirit, moment by moment, per John 5:30) – PEACE!

    James 4:4 (Amplified Bible)
    4You [are like] unfaithful wives [having illicit love affairs with the world and breaking your marriage vow to God]! Do you not know that being the world’s friend is being God’s enemy? So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world takes his stand as an enemy of God.

    need I say more… (:- ) – P.S. – I know the Word also says of Paul, I became like “X, Y and Z” so that a few might be saved… but Paul was so bold, that he said: IMMITATE me and my faith… (:- )

    Reply to this comment
  2. Joshua Winebelt

    01. Jun, 2009

    Amen, it is not about doing church different but be different!
    which means that our interpretations will be in line with Gods word, so we will be alive in church and share the gift that God has given.
    and church will therefore change not because it wants to, but because it is relevant to the believers.

    you can’t change church, but you can change ‘you’

    …and you are the church wherever you go…

    Reply to this comment
  3. Edine Harkins

    02. Jun, 2009

    1 Corin. 4:10 The Kingdom oƒ God is not in word, but in POWER…..

    When Zion travailed she brought ƒørth her children…

    We don’t need to change the church, but ourselves to be in the perƒect will of God…and deƒinitely not destroy the old landmarks…..Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and førever….He doesn’t change….

    Reply to this comment
  4. eMinister (Darryl)

    02. Jun, 2009

    Great Word. Being Relevant is about becoming who God has pre-ordained us to be which supercedes our thinking, tradition, or any limit that Man tries to bind us with. It is about us manifesting God’s will on Earth. This will in turn cause us to be different because we can ‘Do ALL things through Christ Jesus who strengthens us’.

    Amen. Thank you for the post..

    Reply to this comment
  5. Paul Thomas

    02. Jun, 2009

    Hi Martin, You tackle the ‘hot’ issues of the day with bible answers that are workable. That to me is being ‘relevant.’ What the marketplace talks about you ‘redefine’ ..that too is being relevant..

    I like what you said about its ‘more than just methods of structure’ …lighting music etc’ So many churches are trying to get the reight media and music (which is good) in order to be relevant. but I think relevance is also personal. If you give me solutions, keys and ideas for my ministry or business you are ‘relevant.’

    I see bloggers coming to your site and ”piggybacking” in on the subjects you write about, because you stir up thought.. Another sign of being relevant.

    Paul.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Vince Larson

    03. Jun, 2009

    Martin,

    I agree. Unfortunately many people confuse the idea of relevance with compromise. As if we are supposed to allow the mission to shape our theology. As if we are supposed to trim God’s worldview to match our world’s, so we can reach them. That’s pretty close to syncretism, and also heavily condemned by Paul in Romans 1-3.

    Still, there is an amount of relevance we are to employ as good missionaries into culture. The best missionaries are students of culture. A good missionary to China, learns the surrounding cultural rhythms (food, clothing, language, festivals…etc.). We see this in Jesus (i.e. the incarnation). We see this in Paul (i.e. Mars Hill).

    If we want to reach our culture, It may take wearing their clothes, speaking their language, quoting their poets, celebrating their festivals… doing all this with Gospel intentionality and keeping ourselves from being stained by sin in the process (which can pretty effectively soil our testimony of the saving power of Christ and His gospel).

    If by ‘relevant’ we mean God’s messenger speaking God’s message (with both their life & words) into a culture, in a way they can understand and process… then I’m up for it! Let’s be relevant!

    Reply to this comment
    • Martin Schmaltz

      03. Jun, 2009

      Vince, Thanks for the the well thought out and expressed comment. I am not opposed to the changes I mentioned nor any other ways of doing church; as long as they do not violate biblical truth. Unfortunately, too many people are assuming these changes makes them relevant. To carry this example to an extreme; to reach the prostitute a lady must dress and act like a prostitute. This does not make them relevant, it would make people think they are a prostitute.

      I also understand that certain changes can lower the barriers of resistance an individual might have, allowing an open door to present our King & His kingdom in a way that speaks to their current life situation (relevant); whether that is by word or actions.

      Truly enjoy your insights and other convo’s we’ve had. Please keep them coming.

      Reply to this comment
  7. Pett

    05. Jun, 2009

    Not sure that this is true:), but thanks for a post.
    Thanks
    Pett

    Reply to this comment
    • Martin Schmaltz

      05. Jun, 2009

      Pett,
      Thanks for the comment. Not meaning to debate: I am interested in why you might think this. Is there a view of this I am missing?

      Reply to this comment
  8. PaulB Thomas

    03. Jul, 2009

    Hi Martin. The pastor in our church last week had a fab message on the ‘fear of the Lord’ basically stating that when the people loose the ‘fear of the Lord’ in through our doors comes compromise, humanism, secularism, and easy believism. The we cease to be ‘relevant.’

    History shows us this path.

    Just a thought.
    Paul.

    Reply to this comment
  9. Paula

    03. Jul, 2009

    Oh hallelujah….glory to God!!!! I Love it!!!!

    Reply to this comment

Leave a Reply