We are talking about the church being relevant. The basic belief is that if the church is not relevant, it will fail to connect with the younger generation. If we fail to connect with the coming generations, how does that play out for our future?
I have been so blessed to be a part of the Northstar community that is uncompromising in its Christian values, but is willing enough to meet people where they are and to turn the “church” experience into something that people in our society can relate to and value.
I don’t just want Northstar to be known as a “relevant” church that speaks the language of the culture. From my perspective, our church’s desire to be relevant or more authentic and creative is based on our desire to win people who are far from the heart of God.
Northstar seeks to stay relevant in our increasingly mobile, increasingly global, increasingly instant-access, full-disclosure culture. And, it is not about constantly redefining the message depending on who is hearing the message. We want to provide teaching that is constantly evolving. I’m not even sure I could talk cutting edge without a translator. My idea of cutting edge is simple. I know that church is not only for church people. When someone attends Northstar Church for the first or fiftieth time, I pray that that they hear or experience something that they can relate to or identify with in order to want to follow Christ.
While the church needs to be relevant, that does not mean it has to be contemporary to do so. I know churches that don’t play Hillsong United songs, or use practical teaching and are still growing upward and outward. These churches have learned to stay true to their roots and still be relevant. Then there are those churches who are unable or unwilling to evolve, who have struggled to be relevant regardless of what music or teaching style they use.
So, here’s the bottom line: The message will never change. It has not changed for 2,000 years and it is still changing lives daily. That’s all we need to know about being relevant. The only thing that has changed is how we try to make the message life applicable. The Thou Shalt and Thous Shalt Nots were changed to the simple message of following Jesus. But, it’s still about the Holy Spirit connecting God’s story to their lives and using that story to change lives. Because, it is wise of us who are part of the church today to remember that God’s story has been shared generation to generation for thousands of years, regardless of people trying to make it fresh, or new, or cool.
At Woodlands Church, the tweets we talked about in the previous blog post are quickly reviewed by the church staff and pop up on a screen behind Kerry as he teaches. Kerry doesn’t react to any of the tweets until he is finished teaching. Then, he addresses a few selected tweets (selected by the backstage team).
It makes me wonder what some of the tweets would be if Northstar Church had a twitter service. I’m guessing something like this:
“Aren’t you supposed to give the entire message without looking at notes?”
“I think you mispronounced ecclesiology.”
“Tell me again why I need to fill out my connection card?”
“I believe I understand what I think you said, but I’m not sure you realize that what I heard is not what you meant.”