The relevant coolness of love & truth embodied.

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Here is an article on “Christian Cool” that you must read. (Foto is from Luis Palau “dirt bike” evangelistic event.)

There was a time when it was important to me that the church be “relevant.” Now that I am older I realize what I really wanted was for the church to “appear” relevant. Now I know that in making relevance the goal I risked allowing culture, not God, to set the agenda. Our relevance is based on the truth of the gospel. It is true that OT writers were good storytellers and that Jesus and Paul connected truth to specific situations, but relevance was not their aim; they aimed to speak the truth in love.

Some next generation churches are driven by relevance, not truth and love, and their only hope is in knowing God deeply and personally before they utter another word or choose their next illustrative movie clip.. A.W. Tozer helped me understand that the issue is not whether we will receive Christ, but whether He will receive us. Tozer talks of God standing at the door, nervously tossing hat from hand to hand, waiting for my decision on whether to receive Him or not. This me-centered approach may seem relevant today, but never has relevance been further from the truth of the situation.

Last week someone sent me a John Stott quote, Reverend John Stott (“Basic Christianity”) has said: “The great tragedy in the church today is that evangelicals are biblical but not contemporary, while liberals are contemporary but not biblical. We need faithfulness to the ancient word and sensitivity to the modern world.” This was a corrective word but I believe a dated one. Ironically, today it is the mainline Lutheran Martin Marty rightly concerned about the loss of awe brought on by evangelicals eager to be “relevant.”

The marketing imperative says, “ask what they want.” But what if what they want changes really fast? Gen Y church attempts should be aware that this generation is fickle and turns on a dime. Market research companies are spending millions tracking it and find that once-hot-products can be obsolete within a few months.

The marketing imperative says go to the core of the individual. How do you get young Christian kids to be concerned about feeding starving children if an American Doll Restaurant is at their core? How do you get them to enjoy Britain’s rich history of what they want is Harry Potter film sites?

Jesus understood that the central, core issue is relationships. Our faith is caught not taught and its relevance is in real people not packaging. Mean Girls will become nice girls because of parenting not a 2-hour slick flick.

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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  • ‚©CRS Communications 5/17/04

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