The problem with pursuing relevance

Feb 28, 2019 by

by Stephen Kneale:

It was one of those Christian buzzwords for a while. Every other church was lining up to label itself ‘relevant.’ The question I had whenever I saw that was usually, relevant to whom?

The big problem is that churches landing hard on the term ‘relevant’ in their descriptions of themselves very often had a similar profile. They tended to be young and hip and trendy. Now, don’t get me wrong, if that’s you and you want to setup your church that way, fill your boots. I’m a believer in a wide range of churches because it takes all sorts. That sort of church will certainly attract a certain kind of person that other churches won’t (and vice versa) and all those people need the gospel.

But that term ‘relevant’ very quickly came to mean relevant to twenty-somethings. In fact, relevant to a particular brand of twenty-something who is drawn into a particular kind of church. No doubt the way the church was setup was relevant for them. But I always felt painfully aware that in focusing on being relevant for them, it made it less relevant to me and even less relevant than that to my parents and even less relevant again to my grandparents.

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