we’re not irrelevant anymore
I was speaking with my friend Carl Medearis the other day about the fact that the church is no longer irrelevant [Carl runs Simply Jesus, is the author of multiple books, and a long-term missionary to the Middle East]. Churches have mastered our understanding of what people want and need and how they want to get it. Mega churches offer sermons that sound like Buzzfeed articles (6 Ways to a Healthy Marriage, 5 Ways To Get the Most Out of Your Relationship With God, etc.), while conferences like Hillsong and Catalyst promise Lord-gasms of ever-growing intensity.
We know exactly what people want, and we’re good at supplying it.
Most of us.
Carl was quick to point out that not all churches are relevant. In fact, there are all kinds of deeply irrelevant churches. But they really don’t matter, even to the people who attend them. They all have 100 people or less, and those people aren’t reproducing, either through personal evangelism or through corporate worship. Even the kids who grow up there aren’t likely to stick around. All of these churches will die within the next generation.
Yet even though the currently irrelevant congregations will die, the cold truth is that many new churches will quickly become irrelevant if they crystalize their methodology.
You can’t stay relevant by doing the things that made you relevant 10 years ago.
Our call as missionaries of the Gospel of Jesus is to stay in step with the culture. Even a church like Westwinds—which I maintain is the single most creative, innovative congregation on earth—needs to change what we’re doing every day, month, and year, in order to be faithful to the call of God upon our lives. Otherwise, we’ll join the ranks of the irrelevant.