On the pursuit of relevance

I read this paragraph this morning and thought I’d share it with you.

“By our uncritical pursuit of relevance we have actually courted irrelevance; by our breathless chase after relevance without a matching commitment to faithfulness, we have become not only unfaithful but irrelevant; by our determined efforts to redefine ourselves in ways that are more compelling to the modern world than are faithful to Christ, we have lost not only our identity but our authority and our relevance. Our crying need is to be faithful as well as relevant.”

Os Guinness in Prophetic Untimeliness

Perhaps I have misread or misunderstood church history, but it seems to me that the church did not grow because it crafted its message to be palatable to the surrounding culture.

The church grew, not because it emulated the surrounding culture, but because it faithfully presented the message of the cross to that culture. The Apostle Paul went so far as to say,

For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

1 Corinthians 2:2

While I think there is nothing inherently wrong with wailing guitar solos and smoke machines as part of the worship experience, perhaps we should pump the brakes on the drive to make worship like a rock concert and the sermon like a motivational seminar.

Content has to be the first priority.

Is what happens on Sunday faithful to Scripture? Are we pushing ourselves to face the sin in our hearts while also proclaiming the grace of Jesus Christ which overcomes our sin? Is our “worship” experience actually causing us to be more holy or does it just make us feel better?

Is the cross at the center of our message or merely a backlit decoration on the wall?