Three months ago the Spirit of the Lord began to deal with me on the desire and need of the church to be “relevant”. Perhaps this isn’t the correct term as defined in Websters, but it is the catch all term used by the church today. According to Webster’s Online dictionary, relevance means:
a : relation to the matter at hand
b : practical and especially social applicability
So at the core of it’s definition, relevance is not exactly a bad thing. Looking at “b”, practical and especially social applicability, that seems like a good thing for the church to strive for in it’s attempt to win people to Jesus Christ. We must show Jesus in a way that society sees the benefits of applying His teachings and invitation to serve Him to their lives. It must be practical and applicable to every day life. I believe what happens though is we confuse relevance and acceptance.
However, over the course of 3 decades, I don’t think the church as a whole is really subscribing to the truest form of relevancy. It seems that today’s church has begun to descend into not relevance, but acceptance by society. Many have become more concerned with winning the world’s acceptance rather then winning the lost souls of the world. Acceptance and relevance are two totally different commodities and we must know the difference if we are to see Jesus moving in the world today.
During the month of June we will examine the idea of relevance vs. acceptance. Our hope and goal is to see that being relevant and being accepted usually do not go hand in hand. In fact, many times they are on opposite sides of the fence. If you disagree, look at the definition of relevance again, practical or especially social applicability. Now ask yourself this, was Israel relevant to Egypt? Did that have a practical purpose (applicability) to Egypt? Did they relate or have a relationship with the culture of Egypt? Then ask yourself, were they accepted by Egypt?