BEING A RELEVANT CHURCH

I think our country is full of seekers. People seeking God. I get that idea from things like Joel Osteen and Rick Warren writing books that go to the top of NY Times best seller list. It means someone out there is searching for answers.

There are people who are searching for meaning in life and searching for Jesus, but I worry that the church is answering questions that people aren’t asking anymore. Too often we become consumed in irrelevant theological arguments that haven’t been settled for centuries and probably never will be. I believe we are guilty of majoring in minor things and minoring in major things.

I love the fact that Jesus taught on relevant things that people needed and wanted to know about. I wonder if that wasn’t one of the reasons people flocked to him in large crowds. Jesus taught on things like eternity, death, how to treat one another, how to forgive and how to enter the Kingdom of God.

Churches today need to find out what people really want to know about. We need to ask ourselves what questions are people asking that they need answers for. The church needs to provide a place where people can find answers for things they deal with in their every day lives. We need to be relevant churches.

  • Do you think our churches need to be more relevant?

  • Any suggestions on how churches today can be more relevant?

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Read 1182 articles by
18 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Mike says:

    I think some churches have been able to adapt to a changing culture and some haven’t.

    I’m an active elder in a Presbyterian church and we our struggling. Just like you say, we are answering the wrong questions.

    The number one complaint I hear, is “I would never bring my unchurched friends here.” That is a sad state of affairs when the faithful can’t bring people to their own church.

    Too often it has become more about the building and the mission and “being Christian” and the person of Jesus Christ has left the building.

    It’s very difficult for me to sit on a 12 member session and get mostly blank stares when I bring these things up.

    Answers?

    I don’t know…

    – Simplicity
    – Focus
    – Embrace media and technology
    – Don’t try to do everything, the body of Christ is much bigger than your congregation.
    – If you’re going to support a ministry, REALLY support it. Every resource should be made available for it to thrive. Otherwise you’re spitting in the face of your passionate volunteers.
    – Focus on the person of Jesus Christ more than the teachings of Jesus Christ.
    – Make fellowship a priority

  2. Robert Lukenbill says:

    I fell into a trap a while back of believing our “churches” needed to be more relevant to the times. However, after much prayer and contemplation it is not the “church” that has ever kept up with the times. The “church” can and will exist in any culture or any part of the world God fearing people exist. That being said we need to be sure to hold to the pattern of sound words that we learn from the apostles (which they of course learned from Jesus) in the word of God to be relevant the way God wants us to be relevant. A desire for relevance is no excuse to ignore plain Bible truths as many congregations or churches have done over the years. We must hold to the sound pattern (2 Timothy 1:13).

  3. Preston Belt, Beautiful Downtown Lockney, Texas says:

    Hey dude! Had an awesome weekend with Taylor and company! Those kids worked like pack mules saturday. Never complained. Sorry I missed you yesterday.

    I think the church, for the most part, is finally getting the message. Those of us that have led way less than perfect lives, not that anyone can lead a perfect life!, need to hear the message. I thought for the longest, due to my granddad and other legalist in the church, that I was eternally condemned due to the life I had lead. The message does not condemn us! If you think it does, you better read again! Make sure that folks that have been “condemned” by those legalist in the church understand that the gospel is “good news”.

  4. Chris says:

    Trey,

    Do I think the church needs to be more relevant? The short answer is yes! However, the short answer falls, well uhm, short in addressing the question as determining what is relevant would seem to be the problem. I tend to believe the true message of salvation in Christ is always relevant. Unfortunately, as you suggest, we have majored in minors to the point that doctrine has become our banner of relevancy rather than Jesus.

    These are my thoughts.

    Hey, Trey, if you get the chance, visit my page and take part in todays post. I have been away for a while and am trying to get started again.

    Chris

  5. blogprophet says:

    maybe Jesus talked about those things because they were important, many may not think they are relevant today,

  6. doug young says:

    Trey,

    I think a church can be relevant without compromising the truth. You are right, many doctrinal issues have been debated and continue to go on unsettled, and yet we haven’t seen how consumed we can become with them. All the while, we ignore the things that people are struggling with.

    People who come into our assemblies, searching for answers, don’t find them when our message is irrelevant to our times. Consequently, our messages can also miss the mark of children of God.

    For instance, I know someone who is a member of the church who is struggling to provide for her three children after her husband left her for another woman, a woman he had been having an affair with. Trying to be strong, she seeks strength from her brethren, but the steady message she gets is “Why its sinful to have fellowship meals on the church grounds.” That is what she really needs? Give me a break. Look at all the expedient issues we divide over…How irrelevant!

  7. Laura says:

    I think the message of the church (if it is based on strong Biblical teachings) is relevant–it has been for thousands of years and will be for thousands more.

    The problem lies in the church body–the legalists are more concerned with how things are done rather than why we do them. We get caught up in our building and facilities rather than the purpose of them. Then there are the people who think we should do things as we’ve always done them–“it worked 50 years ago, so why not now?” I think the only way for things to change is for people to step up and take on the responsibilities that being a church member requires instead of sitting back and letting people coninue to do things “the way we’ve always done them.”

  8. Bruce and Amanda Baird says:

    Trey,
    I don’t know if we will ever really be completely relevant to all the people all the time. The best way to meet relevant needs is to get God-filled people to know the person with the need.

    I don’t think the message delivered to us should change (maybe we should change the way we view or read that message) in delivering it to people. Perhaps we should change our methodology and attitudes. Jesus met people where they were and then challenged/took them to a higher calling/expectation. He didn’t seem to cookie-cut anybody nor did He have a cheaper/shorter expectation for one person and not the other either but He knew the person knew what they needed to hear ie; relevance)then spoke to/acted on their behalf to draw them closer to His Father.

    Maybe we see doctrine before we see people.

  9. cwinwc says:

    Great questions my brother. I think about what Jesus said in John 4 when he said that a day was coming and had now appeared when people would “worship in spirit and truth.” In the context of his conversation with the woman, “truth” means taking my mask off before God.

    In my opinion any discussion of being relevant has to start with how do we get ourselves and our members to be relavant by taking their masks off. As to how that happens depends on each church’s situation but it can happen.

  10. Chris says:

    Removal of masks, cwinwc, will be difficult until we can cultivate an atmosphere of acceptance rather than judgment within our self-established walls.

    But, as you suggest, removal of masks is vital to experiencing freedom.

  11. Fillmycup says:

    I think churches can be relevant if they LISTEN. Listen too what is being asked in classes. Listen to what people are asking prayers for. Listen to those who are struggling. Once we start listening to the needs of the community and flock, we will find ways to reach them. If you don’t know what they are asking for or needing, how can you ever expect to reach them AND/OR introduce the idea of living like Jesus.

  12. TREY MORGAN says:

    I broke one of my own blogging rules today: Don’t post a “hot topic” post when you’re not going to be around to make comments.

    Lea and I have been in Amarillo today making hospital visits and I couldn’t wait to get home tonight and read the comments. I appreciate the opinions here. I do realize that this topic does deal with a lot of opinion.

    After reading the comments I’d like to make a couple of my own comments…

    First and foremost, I agree 110% with Doug, that you never, ever compromise truth. You can be relevant as a church and still be scriptural. You must always be scriptural.

    I also believe we MUST meet people at their needs. Feed the people. Churches are and should be in the people business. When we are no longer in the people business, we’re no longer a church.

    Our messages must be relevant to the needs of people. We must answer some questions they’re asking.

    Excellent comments. More later.

  13. JD says:

    Trey, you remind me of a song written by Bill & Gloria Gaither:

    The first verse is
    "Don't wanna spend my time writin'
    songs that answer questions
    that nobody's even asking anyhow
    when the house is burnin' to the
    ground there's just no time to stand
    around arranging all the pictures on the wall…etc."

    You nailed it, preacher!

  14. Stoogelover says:

    Jesus was relevant in his culture. The entire message of Paul’s letter to Colossians (if I understand it) is “Christ in us.” One of my greatest frustrations with ministry is that we put so much energy into trying to be this or that when what we need is to let Christ live in and through us and Christ in us will be relevant. We are so tied into a religious system that we’ve long since lost any vision of allowing Christ to live in and through us.

    Most of our church programs (IMHO) are attempts to produce in some artificial way what Christ longs to do through us. Scripture says the One who began His work in us will complete it. I don’t think we believe that because we do so many artificial things to bring about a sense of what only Christ can do!

    Just a thought for whatever it’s worth…not to be judgmental as much as just my observations and my personal struggle over the years to truly let Christ live in me and produce in me the life He wants from me.

  15. Maria says:

    "Outward religion & Devine disgust", one author has put it. Isaiah 1:10-20 has Micah 6:8 written all over it. And what is it that the Lord requires of us? Relevant or not relevant, He requires of us to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him. In other words that people should be made central. In veses 16 & 17 He speaks to them of weighter matters of the law (Matthew 23:23-24) But instead they/we choose to substitute loving obedience for sacrifice. Sacrifice apart from heart felt submission which was/is smoke in God's nostrils, it was/is an irritant!!
    Above all things LOVE GOD AND LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF, on these 2 hand all the law & the prophets.

    His,
    Maria

  16. TREY MORGAN says:

    More tomorrow on my blog … :)

    Thanks for reading!

  17. Rick Morgan says:

    The only way the church will be relevant is if it cares about the problems that people are dealing with.

    The church is supposed to be a hospital for a hurting world to come in and find out that they matter to God, he made a way for their eternal life with him and while they are on this earth they can live a better way.

    May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    For God is at work within you, helping you want to obey him, and then helping you do what he wants. Phil 2:13 (Living)

  18. TREY MORGAN says:

    Rick – well said. I agree 100%

About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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