Relevant is a buzz word.
In church world relevant had to do with updating the appearance of things.
You update the look and feel of church to connect with those that have left. Music changes. Buildings change. Programs change.
We all know this process and we know that it can only has so much effectiveness. It becomes a fool’s errand of always chasing what is next and ultimately always being one step behind. We of course need to be mindful of cultural changes, but the pursuit of relevance alone is an easy way to get frustrated.
Relevance must be redefined, or expanded.
If you hadn’t been to church for years and decided to give it one more shot would it really come down to what color the lobby was painted or whether or not the kid’s area was fun and inviting?
Maybe, but not completely.
Everything is communication. Paint, coffee, sermons, music, student ministry, all that stuff is part of the communication. And all of it has to make sense to someone’s life, not just be familiar or attractive.
Church communication has to connect in a way that matters. Relevance has to be about connection not just familiarity.
Relevant communication is intentional, authentic, and transparent.
We should focus on how our churches are perceived from the outside, but we can’t stop there.
It has to be about whether or not we are connecting with people in a way that matters to their lives.