Is "Church" Really Relevant Anymore?

One of the major challenges facing the church today is relevance. Is the church relevant in our "enlightened world?" Many prominent authors have written books on how the church can and should be more relevant in the lives of people today. And I agree, the church needs to respond to the needs of our world in a relevant way, while caring out its Biblical mandate to make disciples for Christ. People of our time need to understand how the Gospel of Jesus Christ will make a difference in their lives, how following a faith that is so counter to today's society can actually bring peace and joy to someone, and how placing our trust in God is more wise then trusting ourselves.

The church needs to do a better job of communicating the Gospel and its relevance. However, communication is a two-way street. In our what-can-you-do-for-me-now society, the onus has been placed on the church to convince society that following Christ is the preferred path for living, and that attending church and getting involved in ministry beyond worship is what we are called to do as children of God. And to some extent the church has this responsibility.

But those who hear the Good News also have a responsibility to receive the news and act upon what they hear, and to follow where the Holy Spirit leads. Too often people simply complain about church because they feel there suppose to get something from church. But in reality to receive we must be willing to give. And I am not talking about giving money; I am talking about giving of ones self to wanting to know about God and wanting to truly experience Christ. I suggest if we want to receive the peace, joy, encouragement, and healing offered through Christ we must be willing to do some work as well, not just sit in the pew complaining that church is boring, or that the service is too predictable, and nothing said or sung applies to my life anyway. We cannot grow in Christ by simply being pew potatoes, or by avoiding church all together.

If church is to be relevant than we must be willing to do our part to make it relevant. How often do you read the Bible, study its contents, or pray? Do you participate in the ministry of the church beyond one hour of worship per week? Are you involved with other Christians in fellowship and service? Are you helping those in church leadership better define what the church ought to be in our community?

One of the problems we have as Christians is that we expect the church to awaken us, to get us excited about Jesus, and to motivate us to a new way of life. Well the truth is our faith does not work that way. Following Jesus requires us to be active participants in our spiritual growth by taking part in the spiritual disciplines listed above. When we participate in the spiritual disciplines, we begin to see and hear things in a different light. Words we hear on Sunday morning, and receiving the sacraments, begin to take on new meaning, and before you know it we are excited and see the relevance of Jesus. Jesus never said following him would be easy; but he did say the rewards would be great.

How relevant is your church? What have you done to make church more relevant in your life, or in the lives of others?

Read other messages by Pastor Wade