We need to become so relevant that we again can capture the attention of people who seem to be more interested in the NFL and the Home Shopping Network or Better Homes and Gardens than they do about their own lives and their eternal destiny and we capture their attention by telling them the Truth and the truth is that THEY NEED GOD.
Romans 14:10-13 How then, can they call on the one they have not believed in ? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
Nehemiah 8:8 They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was being read.
Four keys to making this truth relevant:
1. Environment – we have to create an environment where the world feels comfortable. It is our job! A place where they will be accepted and expected to come. Jesus went to their party! This includes our attitude about people. Have you ever walked into a place and you just felt unwanted…or they just don’t like me here!
Mood – there is a lot of pain and sadness in our world. We need to exude, joy and hope and not despair and disillusionment. The church should be like a Nursery at the hospital, not a funeral home. We need to act more like an Emergency Room than a corporate office. Dress – can you imagine by accident showing up at a party where everyone was dressed normal and you showed up as though it were a masquerade party. How awkward is that? Suits and Ties? And guests come and they feel like they just went to a funeral in cut offs. At Gateway we will never put a list on the door of what people have to where, before they can come in and find out how much God loves them. We want people to come in as they are.
2 Style – it sets relevance. People come and know immediately if it is for them or not! A lot of the time that starts with Music. We don’t want to communicate authoritatively, we want to communicate relationally. That does not mean our message is wishy washy, it just means we are real and transparent. We don’t come across as though we think we are better than anyone else. It also includes the media. We are a world that communicates visually. Video is like the faucet and the pump.
- Language – Just because I choose to listen to Q102 (a secular rock station) to understand the language of today does NOT mean I have to buy into their message. The message of Green Day is one of disillusionment and despair, anger and doubt. American Idiot is about the hatred for normal value based people. The song American Idiot is all about their hatred for the Jesus of anyone in established Christianity. Instead of trying to understand them and listen to the questions they are struggling with, the church has chosen to condemn an entire culture. No wonder they are writing songs of hatred about us.
- Need – if we are not speaking to someone’s need then we are irrelevant. Go to someone in the hospital who is dieing of cancer and tell them of a great opportunity where they can make a million dollars. Sometimes people come into the church and they hear NOTHING of what they are looking for! Jesus is the solution for Everything in their lives. To know God and His Truth is the most important value that we can share with anyone!
If we are going to fulfill our God-given purpose, we have to fully give ourselves to communicating God’s truth with relevance to the people all around us in our world.
It is hard work to do church this way. We have to keep changing…because culture changes. Truth is constant but culture is constantly changing. We have to be willing to do anything to reach anyone, anywhere – without compromising the Truth!
Amen, Dan! Far too few churches take the time to think through these issues. Thanks for a great reminder and for the affirmation it brings. Good luck with your new book!