Summary: This message to a group of leaders and teachers exhorts us to reach out to the seeker without throwing out theology.
Reverent, Yet Relevant
Text: Luke 14:16-23
I read that the average person is bombarded by 3000 advertisements everyday. From TV to radio and magazines to billboards, that’s probably a good estimate. All of that got me to thinking about the church and how we share the good news of Christ. We have a beautiful, historic building that has advertised our presence for many, many years. We have a decent sized marquee that sits near the road so that hundreds of passers-by can see when our services are every week. Even our carillon rings every hour telling the community they can meet Jesus here. We have web sites and newsletters. We have a variety of services and ministries. We do all this to advertise Jesus, yet many Sundays go by and the house isn’t full. Too many Sundays go by without sinners coming to see their need for a Savior. It is not for lack of advertising. It is not for lack of good preaching. So why are conversions down in our church and many others around the world? It’s because you don’t win those seeking Christ by advertising your faith, you reach them by living your faith – that’ real, that’s tangible.
It’s a different mission field today
• People are still just as lost
• Sin is just as destructive
• People are still seeking
• The change is that our culture has shifted in the last 20 years from being family oriented and grounded in traditional morals to one of self-gratification and relevant ethics. “I want instant gratification” – “as long as I’m not hurting anyone else it’s ok.”
In an effort to reach out to this changing culture the church has attempted a lot of changes too. We’ve had programs, and seminars, evangelism explosions, bus crusades, contemporary music, multi-media, and other needs based ministries. The church is in a quandary between holding on to its foundational truths and reaching out in a relevant way to our society.
• Some like change, some do not
• Some changes are extreme and border on being too secular
• Some traditional elements of worship have lost their significance with a younger, faster moving crowd.
• As we adapt the message to the culture we must be careful that our emphasis on experience, interpretation, multi-media and outreach doesn’t outweigh the message of God’s Holiness.
How do we do it? How do we stay reverent yet be relevant?
5 Ways To Be Reverent Yet Relevant
1. Build Relationships
-Live your life out loud. It’s how you connect with others.
-Be authentic. No one likes a phony. Be real, be yourself, warts and all. (Did you ever hear expressions like “The church is full of hypocrites” or “I couldn’t live the Christian life”) Authenticity transcends philosophies and cultures, religious and social boundaries. When I can relate to you, I see my possibilities.
2. Open new spiritual doors
-Surfing ministry, book clubs, small groups
3. Communicate – can you listen as well as you hear?
-Ask people about themselves, talk less about yourself
4. Enjoy the journey (acceptance)
-We are all seekers at different stages of the journey
-We are all apprentices – still learning, still improving
-We’re all sinners.
5. Remember, it’s not about you
-Do for others, build them up
Over the last 100 years we have seen changes take place so quickly. The next 100 will be even faster. Don’t get so caught up in the changes. They’re going to happen anyway. Remember, when everything changes, Jesus is still the same.