Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Just how relevant is your church?

Just how relevant is your church?

One of the biggest focus points on Churches over the last 10 years or so has been the desire to be relevant. Churches and ministers have spent huge amounts of thought, money and resources on their desire to be relevant to their community. What I have learnt is that unfortunately church has misinterpreted relevance as style when in fact relevancy is more about substance. It is not concerned with how you deliver the message but whether the message is pertinent to the target audience in most cases the unchurched.

The dictionary defines relevant as: adj; having direct bearing on the matter in hand; pertinent. It has very little to do with style. A relevant message or statement is about it being appropriate or meaningful to the target audience. It is not about whether the music was this century not last, video projector was used instead of overhead projector. A relevant message is a message that made sense to the listener.

Too often churches let themselves down by putting all their energy into the delivery of its message rather than the appropriateness. It doesn’t matter how comfortable the seats are, how many electric guitars or youtube clips you include in your sermon, if the subject is not helpful to the listener then it is useful. A drowning man is not interested if the ship is the latest or newest model, he is only concerned if it has a life buoy that can be given to him to rescue him.

Focussing on style does not make the message relevant. Focussing on style does not make the message better either. A beautiful photo is still beautiful whether it is in colour or black and white, taken on a digital camera or on a film camera. The relevancy of the photo is not affected by how it was taken but by what it meant to the viewer.

It would be an interesting if you were to survey your unchurched community about what they would think a 'successful' church might look like. Perhaps style of worship might not rate as highly as a perhaps a church that serves it's community.

As you start 2010 and you seek to be a relevant church to your community don’t worry about your style of service just concentrate on whether you are actually helping people find meaning and purpose for their life. Don’t leave them disappointed by with promises or showbiz, just give them hope.

What do you think?