Dancing in the Light

I John 1:7 "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin."

Location: North Platte, Nebraska, United States

I am a christian wife, mother and grandmother. I am a licensed Social worker and a licensed Christian counselor. I am most proud of the relationships I have with God, my family and friends all over the world. I have been blessed beyond my dreams.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Becoming Relevant

All day yesterday, I thought about this idea of relevance. There is so much talk about changing the way we worship, changing the name of the people we worship with, changing the place we worship, changing worship itself, etc. There is talk of the emergent church, the house church and the reformed or restored church. The argument for all the change seems to be that in order to grow, we must make the Word of God and His Church relevant to the lost.
Now, anyone who knows me, knows that I am all for growth and reaching lost souls. I am, however, uncertain that it our responsibility to "make" the Word or the Church relevant. I thought perhaps I was misunderstanding the word relevant and so I got out my handy dandy dictionary and looked it up. But, no, I had it right, it means "pertaining to". So how do we make worship and the Word and the Church "pertain" to lost souls?
Maybe we need to question what we did or do that keeps it from being relevant to all of us. Because obviously, scripture teaches that it is for all generations, that the Word, all scripture is profitable, that there is a pattern prescribed by God, spoken to His apostles and other writers and that none of these change. To say otherwise, contradicts the scripture itself. One of the principal rules of hermeneutics is if my discernment of a specific scripture contradicts other scriptures, my understanding is incorrect.
Some tell us that recent statistics say we are not growing as a body. We are losing more and more of our young people to the world. Conversions are down and the number of those leaving the church is up. Are they leaving because the Word of God no longer pertains to them? Are they leaving because they believe worship and the Church has no relevance to their lives? While these may be among the reasons given, I believe they are merely excuses for the truth.
Perhaps conversions are down because we have become such an worldly, entertainment-driven society that church without a remote control or a game controller is unappealing. Perhaps folks are leaving the Church because the Church, unlike the world, does not condone and whitewash over sin. Or perhaps the Church has become less than loving and forgiving, instead condemning and self-righteous. It seems to me, the problem is not making the Church and the Word relevant to sinners but showing the relevance of the Spirit in our lives.

Romans 6:23 "the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord."
Romans 3:23 "for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ."
Romans 8:1 "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
Do you know anyone who this does not pertain to? Obviously God's love and the Blood of His Son is relevant to everyone! Relevant to lost and saved alike.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the Word does not pertain to us, we are delusional.
Thanks for the thoughts.


8:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen, you are so right. Thank you for putting the truth on this discussion.


11:44 AM  
Blogger Brian Nicklaus said...

Amen! preach on, Sister!!

1:57 PM  
Anonymous Martin said...

'showing the relevance of the Spirit in our lives'-that's what is needed.
Thanks for sharing!


2:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If our seniors remain faithful in church, it is not because they knew the Bible. We have failed them, and their parents have given lip service to teaching them replacing that with whatever the kids wanted to do. They shoved Paublo and I out because it wasn't fun for the kids to have scriptual studies. Dumbing down of America, my foot, it's the dumbing down of the church that I am worried about.

3:00 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

I honestly find the general picture of what's going on with religion today confusing. You hear contrary statistics about people being more/less religious by different measures and in different parts of the world.

Also, since the general culture itself is becoming less - cultured... it gets hard to seperate whether things that go wrong in religion are particular to what's going on with religion, or symptomatic of the broader problem.

6:15 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Household: said...


I love you dearly. I don't think it is an either or. Yes the Bible is relavant and the church is relavant. Unfortunately some of the antiquated practices and language don't translate. They may not be relevant. There are some things that can change and some that can't. There may be some that must.

As for people leaving, I know that in many setting they aren't leaving the church they are leaving the man made traditional form of their parents/grandparents.

Worship is not about what songs we sing. I can worship singing songs that were written three hundred years ago and song written three months ago. Worship is a matter of the heart. "Make music in your heart" Paul says in Ephesians five. He does not say sing with an overhead or don't sing with a praise team or ... WORSHIP WITH YOUR HEART. (Sorry if I went to preaching that is just who I am)


7:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obviously the Word is relevant to everyone, perhaps our translation of it into our lives is what is irrelevant. Obviously the Blood of Christ is relavant to everyone, perhaps what we do with it is what makes it look like it does not pertain to anyone that is not church of christ.

7:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am ashamed to admit it, but,I am new to "church speak" and so some of the religious terms I do not always understand.

However, you asked "So how do we make worship and the Word and the Church "pertain" to lost souls?"

I say that you first have to find out what the barrier is between the "lost souls" and the church.

I would bet that most "lost souls" are not familiar with scripture and do not realize that the Word of God pertains to them. They probably don't feel worthy of the honor of attending church either. So you have to change something about your worship itself to draw them into your church in a new way.

Then teach them that the Word of God belongs to everyone. If you haven't grown up with this concept, it is very difficult to grasp.

8:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps we are not meant to change anything only to let God change us. That would make all relevant.

I totally agree with you, changing the Word, redefining and repainting the mission is not the way to go. Changing the souls and their destiation through the power of the Blood is the way.

Preach it, sister,

9:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe if we change worship and the word enough, people wont have to change.(typed tongue in cheek)

Great post.
Keep up the great work

10:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Neva,

I think people sometimes say things in the wrong way. Of the folks who say we must make church relevant, some may mean we need to go be Jesus to those who think he is not relevant.

We don't need to change things inside the church building in order to get people to come in. Dwight Whisett of SIBI says that we too often wait for people to visit. He calls that "evangelism by accident."

Instead, we need to go to the people. We need to take the Kingdom of God to groups of pre-Christians wherever they may gather together. We defintiely don't need to make the people we befriend act and look and think just like us before we accept them.

We need to get down and dirty and into people's lives. We need to care about the poor and needy mentioned in Amos 8:4-7. Those are two distinct classes. There are all kinds of people who are needy.

Many congregations tend to go after the new school principal that moves to town, or the new banker, instead of the new family that fights all the time and screams at their kids.

We tend to stray away from what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23. Paul reached people in differnet ways, Athens for instance. I may be able to explain the idea of belonging better with a Linkin Park song to some people than with God's word although that need comes from God. Paul did exactly that in Athens, he used pagan poetry.

Look at the church in Antioch. It looked a lot different than the one in Jerusalem and they were finally accepted by the traditional Jewish Christians. Churches can look different, even if some think they are just catering to those who want to be entertained.

As for myself, I want to build relationships with pre-Christians, not treat them as evangelism projects or as social objects. I just want to form relationships and share the good news.

Sorry to preach. Hope you and Ned are doing well.

Brian H.

11:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Word itself doesn't have to change but sometimes the presentation of the Word does need to change.

If you want to make a connection to a wider audience, changes must be made to allow for that connection to occur.

Or you can keep doing things that are the same because it works for you and that is fine. But realize that, lack of change may contribute to the lack of new growth in your church.

In life, things that refuse to change, (at least a little), usually die out.

Don't change the Word - change the presentation.

2:07 AM  
Blogger Neva said...

I appreciate all the comments. It seems there are many opinions. My concern is mostly that God has created all and set up things the way He wants them. And in doing so made Christianity relevant to every soul. Our interpretations and our traditions may indeed be the barrier that keeps folks away or sends them away. I am not uncomfortable with change, so long as scripture shows that God would approve of these changes, that the changes would not violate His picture of the Church, His worship design. I mean after all, He is point--it is all about Him. He gave His Son and He expects us to do as He asks, it is the very least we can do. His is a business of saving souls, not a catering business.
My deal is this, if the Church or the Word are no longer relevant when they once were, what changed? Since God created the Church and He wrote the Word,and He designed a worship that was pleasing to HIM, shouldn't He be the one to change them? If we change those things aren't we going beyond our scope of practice, so to speak?
We can change our presentation because we designed that --it was not God orchestrated, and we can change our traditions because again they are ours. But changing worship and the word and the church to be relevant to a changing world seems irreverant.

Brian, Ned and I are well. Thanks for visiting my site, hope you come back,
James, I love you, too.

6:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you hit the nail on the head. We cannot change what God designed and set in place unless we have specific instructions from Him to do so. The only thing He seems to want changed is us.
Great post

7:16 AM  
Blogger Bob Bliss said...

Have you read my favorite quotes at my blog? There are two by Willimon that will resonate with what you said. What is really interesting is to read Willimon's book (written with two other authors whose names I don't remember at the moment) called, Good News for Exiles. He sorta chronicles the journey that many mainline denominational churches took to be socially relevant but over time have become irrelevant. He basic thesis is that the church needs to be the church and not try to be relevant to the world. We are here to live in God's kingdom and to call people into God's kingdom. The only thing that is really relevant is how to get people to heaven.

2:27 PM  

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