Thoughts on being relevant

I have been thinking for quite some time about the idea of relevance. What does it mean, what does it look like, and how do you have it? I’ve read the purple cow, and got those lessons form the red rubber ball. I have seen what good to great means and witnessed what can only be described as black swans in a quest to understand the forgotten ways. I’ve seen things made to stick as they cause a tipping point of out of the box ideas…and of course I have discovered those strength finders in all of us. Yet through it all this nagging voice kept saying – “be who you are”.

The truth is, the quest for relevance, trends, and self-help have caused a slow cancerous death to the church. I personally think this is because people do not understand what relevance really is. Now, I know, I may over siplify things but I think the best way to be relevant is to be who God made you to be in the context your in.

Think about it. If you took the time to understand the world, community, and neighborhood around you as best you can, and you took time to discover who you really are (which changes as you grow older) – wouldn’t then that be the best foundation for relevance you could find?

I know pastors, volunteers, and regular people who constantly try and do the coolest thing they can think of. They try and be “relevant” because of something they learned at a conference, or in a magazine, or in a book – and instead of taking the general principles, they take the action these other individuals have done and expect the same results. Now, ignoring the fact that there is nothing new under the sun, and that this manor of relevance borders on plagiarism – 9 times out of 10 it ends up being like a flash grenade. The only thing that happens is a loud noise, some attention, and then temporary blindness – but when the smoke clears and your eyes are able to see again you quickly notice that nothing has changed.

How much would be different if we accepted who we are, decided to take those things we learn, apply it to our own individual contexts, and accept that we, on our own, cannot possible be relevant to all people?

Me personally, I am a movie loving, pop culture living, book reading, loud laughing, dreamer of a person with a pretty jaded past. That’s who I am. And because of that I will reach some that others can’t. I will do things that others can’t. I will have ideas that other people may not relate to…and all of those things are OK. It doesn’t make me better or worse…just different. So, I can try and be someone I’m not or I can use the gifts and interests I already have and with God’s help, take them to a whole new level.

Which should I choose? Which would make me more relevant?

Why should I try and be something I am not? Why not just find those people who are relevant in different ways and come together in one giant ball of awesomeness to do the things that God has called us to do together…you know, why not actually BE the church?

What do you think?

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3 thoughts on “Thoughts on being relevant

  1. I agree. My brother in law wrote a song about that. fortunately he’s still trying to master it in recording. I wish i could share it. but he used the exact words of “Become who you are!”

    NO sense trying to live life the way people or parents, or the mass think you should be. Ultimately we should understand who God Made us to be and how we play the role in the last seconds of the Game when Satan finally realizes he’s Lost the game.

  2. Great, relevant post. I hate it was churches try to do the hip, latest, Christian fad thing. We need to settle down a bit and as you aptly put, “…use the gifts and interests I already have and with God’s help, take them to a whole new level.”

  3. I know this is an older post, but I have been thinking about this… a lot.

    I believe many churches have kind of gotten it backwards and have moved away from their core mission – discipleship. If the church properly trains up believers to live out the Christian life and follow Christ’s example, they don’t need to work overtime to be relevant. The love of Christ and the prodding of the Holy Spirit and the example of Christlike friends and relatives will compel them to want to learn more of who God is and why He loves them.

    But instead of discipleship, the church has taken as it’s mission to reach the “unchurched”. Not a bad sounding goal, but the word itself conveys that the purpose of church is to “church” people, move them from the unchurched to the churched category. To get them in the door and to get them to stay… sometimes, whatever it takes to accomplish that, is the goal. So we become relevant, and cool, and safe for unbelievers and we keep people coming and some stay, but are they being discipled? Or are they simply people to check of a list, declared them churched and move on to the next unsuspecting victim, um, convert.

    I believe very strongly that if the church became a place of discipleship, God would bring the lost through their connections with members of that church or even on their own. He will have laid the groundwork and will present them as ripe for the harvest. Discipled and mature Christians will be a beacon for the lost as they model the heart and soul of Jesus Christ. They will provide the answer to a lost and dying world.

    What could be more relevant than that?

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