I received a great article on relevance and ministry. This was my comment to the article.
We struggle to become culturally relevant with the noble intent to reach more folks for Christ, yet fail to recognize that Christ and the Apostles never made such attempts. Inasmuch as Christ engages gentiles and Paul “was all things to all people” in efforts to engage the people they ministered to, the practices and standards of the Church were never altered. Paul made clear in his epistles that the practices he modeled and taught were applicable to “all the churches.”
As a result, our noble efforts have completely backfired. Instead of Christ’s Kingdom reshaping our world, the world has reshaped the Church. Look at divorce. When society thought it taboo, the church did too. Now society shifted, we see that divorce rates among professing Christians actually exceed atheists. We also see racism and slavery. The church was re;relative silent on these subjects, lagging behind the world’s condemnation of such ills.
In all these things, our western mindset drives us to plan and institutionalize our way to fix the symptoms (social ills), yet Christ NEVER said to engage the culture in this way. His Kingdom is a different kind of kingdom–one of the heart. His solution was simple–“make disciples teaching them to obey ALL His commands.” He knew the world would be changed if we followed His simple, yet clear instructions. The Church has become IRRELEVANT at impacting our society because of our basic disobedience. If we would do what He said, and not focus on the myriad of attempts to solve society’s problems our own way, we would have the impact we all so desire. Yet in our pride and arrogance (again, with noble intent), we think we know better than our King. I pray we repent and return to the simplicity of the Lord’s teachings so that we can become as relevant as the early church was–the few folks without money, buildings, seminary training, and our deep theology, completely turned their world upside down.