A Word on Churches Being Culturally Relevant

A Word on Churches Being Culturally Relevant

There are a lot of buzz words and phrases that are flying around churches today.  One provocative one is “Cultural Relevance.” This basically refers to a church’s desire to connect with it’s surrounding community in a meaningful way that will help the church grow in faith and in number.  Many see it as important.  Others see it as anathema.  In light of this polarization, here is a word on cultural relevance:

Obviously we want the Church to be attractive and welcoming.  Churches must communicate in a way that people understand, but they shouldn’t sacrifice substance on the altar of relevance.

Os Guinness comments that Christians today all too often live lives where we “worship our work, work at our play, and play at our worship.”  One way we play at our worship is when we try to emulate our culture in worship.  The temptation is to copy our culture instead of developing it.  The usual outcome from copying culture is to come off as gimmicky, which appeals to no one.  Our goal should be to communicate to our congregations that there is a responsibility in worship, and it’s not to be the coolest church on the block nor is it to be a passive, rote ritual for sixty minutes, but simply as Psalm 95 says, it’s to be focused on God.  When we focus on God, not only do we reach out to Him but also he reaches out to us—in that place—in that time—in that very moment.  That is why worship is holy: because the Holy One is there and he is listening to you and speaking back to you.  Our churches need to know that this is the heart of worship.  It needs to be preached from the pulpit and taught to our elders, deacons, and staffs.

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