Was Jesus Relevant?
You hear the term “relevant” being tossed around these days – especially among church planters. The very phrase is favored, or is criticized. A few years ago, the catch phrase that was used (and criticized) was “seeker-friendly” – Jesus was that too… but that’s another blog, maybe. Relevant.
One of our core values at LifePoint is Changing Methods – Unchanging Message – We value creativity. God is the author of creativity – um, look at the universe 🙂. The message of the GOSPEL will never change, but times change and people change and cultures change. The message is relevant and unchanging from generation to generation, and our methods need to be relevant and in being so, must be ever changing.
Paul said that became all things to all people. Check out 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, “ 19 For although I am free from all people, I have made myself a slave to all, in order to win more people. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win Jews; to those under the law, like one under the law—though I myself am not under the law —to win those under the law. 21 To those who are outside the law, like one outside the law—not being outside God’s law, but under the law of Christ—to win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, in order to win the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that I may by all means save some. 23 Now I do all this because of the gospel, that I may become a partner in its benefits.” That to me, my friends, sums up relevance. Kevin says (and other planter guys), “We’ll do anything short of sin to reach people.”
Jesus told stories (parables) about everyday “stuff” to make it relevant to them. He took what they knew, what the people were familiar with and adapted the unchanging message so the people would “get it.”
Randy Smith stated at the NEXT Church Planting conference that “relevance is a moving target.” That’s right on, Randy! What is relevant to me as a Caucasian, woman/mother of 3 kids in the Midwest may not be relevant to a single male from New York City and 10 years down the road, it’s going to look even more different.
Here are Perry Noble’s thoughts on a “Seeker Friendly” church… “SEEKER FRIENDLY – It amuses (and saddens) me when people use this as a term to attack the church–what in the heck are we supposed to be–seeker hostile? (Many churches are!!!) We believe people seek God because He draws them to Himself…and when they walk into our church we do try hard to make sure the environment is FRIENDLY! We want people to want to come back…and so we do all that we can, knowing that we will fall short if not for the mercy of God’s grace using our efforts for HIS glory!” The same goes for relevance. We want to meet people where they’re at… and let the gospel transform them.
I have to admit, this isn’t always easy on me… I, like most people, balk at change. I like certain things “how we’ve always done it.” But, it’s NOT ABOUT ME! Craig Groeschel asks the poignant question, “What if we forgot about ‘how we do it here’ and ask God how He wants it done?”
More it not being about me… In regards to music/worship – I like a variety of music, especially contemporary praise songs… however, if the pastor of my church (aka hubby) felt God leading him to change things up a bit to harder rock or rap, or even old-time gospel – because of the demographic we were reaching, I would embrace it. Again, it’s not about me. I’m already SAVED. I’m going to HEAVEN! And I’d like a lot more people to come with me!! (And I can praise 7 days a week, not just on Sunday mornings!!)
It’s like Henry Blackaby teaches, “See where God is working and JOIN HIM!” If he’s working among a certain people group – reach them with the gospel! Meet them where they’re at. Don’t try to get them to look like you – if God would’ve wanted cookie-cutter Christians, He would’ve said so… and we’d all be boring. (Stepping off soapbox now.)
Embrace diversity. Embrace change. And, embrace relevance.