Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Trying to Be Relevant Has Left the American Church Irrelevant

Image result for john piippo new york city
(New York City)
Can a church have culturally relevant things? I believe so. But these things, as awesome as they might be, are not manifestations of our great distinctive. The Gospel is relevant, but a presence-driven church is not striving to be relevant. Os Guinness writes: 

“Rarely has the church seen so many of its leaders solemnly presenting the faith in public in so many weak, trite, foolish, disastrous, and even disloyal ways as today… This monumental and destructive carelessness has coincided exactly with a mania for relevance and reinvention that has gripped the church. So a disconcerting question arises: How on earth have we Christians become so irrelevant when we have tried so hard to be relevant? And by what law or logic is it possible to steer determinedly in one direction but end up in completely the opposite direction?… We are confronted by an embarrassing fact: Never have Christians pursued relevance more strenuously; never have Christians been more irrelevant.”

It’s not evil for a church to have a fair-trade coffee bar. I probably like coffee more than you do. Coffee-drinking was so much a part of my Finnish heritage that my grandmother literally had tears in her eyes when she learned I started to drink it. To her, I finally joined the Finnish Faith Community. But something has gone wrong when God communicates to us one thing (“better is one day in my presence”), and it gets transcripted as another thing (“better is one day with my barista.

- From my book Leading the Presence-Driven Church 

Linda and I are in New York City where I will be teaching Presence-Driven Leadership at Faith Bible Seminary.