Continuing our dialogue on engaging the culture, Baptist Press recently discussed the issue of relevance with Mark Dever. Dever shared several concerns regarding an overemphasis on relevancy in ministry and the church. As he says, “I would like to suggest that the most fundamental problem in the church is not that we are not relevant enough in relation to the world, but that the church is not distinct enough from the world. Our churches must reflect the character of God.”
Dever goes on to challenge church leaders to “channel their energy toward maintaining purity in the church instead of spending great amounts of time and ministry on relating to the culture.” Yes we need to meet people in their context. However, that concept should not require a program within the church. In the midst of normal, everyday life we should find ourselves dealing with the same things as others within our community and sphere. So relevance should be very natural. This natural relevance should also lead to a shifting of priorities within the church. Instead of being driven by numbers or results, we should be driven by faithfulness to the Word of God and the Christian life. We need to be more concerned with pursuing God and less concerned with how many people fills the pews or walk the aisle (which brings on a whole other discussion).
I recommend this article to anyone like myself who is consistently pondering these issues. I think Dever hits the mark dead on.