“May we be the kind of good faith Christians who shape the future by asking the right questions and then confronting what is wrong, clarifying what is confused, celebrating what is good, and creating what the world is missing.” ― David Kinnaman, Good Faith: Being a Christian When Society Thinks You’re Irrelevant and Extreme
David Kinnanon and Gabe Lyons co-authored a book in 2016 entitled Good Faith: Being a Christian When Society Thinks You’re Irrelevant and Extreme. Kinnaman is the president of Barna Group, a leading research company, and Lyons is the founder of Q, a TED-style learning community. With the Barna group involved you would expect a lot of statistics and that is exactly what you get. Based on thousands of interviews they conducted, Kinnaman and Lyons report a growing number of U.S. adults perceive Christianity to be irrelevant and extreme.
Many people see the church as irrelevant to their day-to-day lives: a dead, empty tradition of the past. So, is the church still relevant? It can seem at times that the church is almost yelling at those who will listen, “Hey, remember me? I’m the church. I’m still here. I still have important things to say.” It’s interesting the lengths we’re tempted to travel in order to be heard when we simply need to stay focused on being more like Jesus. He wasn’t inventing new things. He wasn’t going out of his way to be “relevant.” Mark 10:45 says, “the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
“The church” is more than just a building on their street corner, and it is more than the Christians they know, and is more than the different denominations. The church existed before those things and will exist long after them. The church is the group of believers meeting in a home in Pensacola and is also the group of believers huddled together for prayer in Pakistan. The church is the teacher taking time off to serve on a mission trip to Haiti and a plumber who is using two weeks vacation time to ensure Kenyan villages have water. It is a whole lot of people who have professed Jesus Christ as Lord.
The C.S. Lewis Institute said that the only thing that is always relevant is the Gospel. God’s word will never be outdated, superseded, or improved upon. Cultures change, laws change, generations come and go, but the Word of God is as relevant today as it was when it was first written. Jesus said,”I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” (Matthew 16:18)
As believers, we belong to Jesus. Sure, we are not the most faithful of servants, but He chooses us just the same. As His servants, we Christians take seriously His charge to share His unchanging and relevant message of hope and love with everybody. The message of Jesus is one of certainty that lasts for all time. And regardless of where you are in life, He has a relevant life-changing message for you.
- Do you think the church has lost some relevancy over the past 10 years? If so, how?
- What can we as individuals help to change this dynamic?