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Being Relevant in the Community

In my lifetime I have had the opportunity to attend churches with as few as 8 members to as many as 7200 members. I have to admit that I am most comfortable in a congregation with less than 500 members just from the viewpoint of being able to have the opportunity to serve there and having the possibility of getting to know some of the people who go to church there. One thing I have noticed, regardless of the size of the congregation, is that many churches are not relevant in their community.

I once heard a speaker ask “Would your community notice a difference if your church closed its doors forever?” Sadly many communities would go unchanged. Why is that? Is God’s Word still relevant? I know the answer to that is a resounding “Yes!” so that is not the problem. Does the Bible still have the power to change lives? Once again the answer is “Yes!” So the real question is why has the church lost its relevance and connection to the communities that they are in? Why are our churches more commuter oriented than community based?

To answer these questions we must look at our definition of evangelism. There was a time in our culture when we knocked on someone’s door, asked them about their salvation, studied the Bible with them, and then waited for their response. This method was effective for many people, but that model does not work anymore. Some would consider having a car wash and handing out their church bulletin as being evangelism. These approaches can open the door to some people, but I believe we have missed the key ingredient to being relevant: relationship.

In order for the church to be relevant in the community we need to know the people in the community and be able to reach them where they are psychologically, emotionally, and physically. Any attempts to reach them with the gospel without having a relationship usually will not be successful because we need to deliver the Bible to them in a context that they will understand. This will not always be comfortable for us, but God never called us to comfort only to being faithful.

I pray that the church will regain its relevancy in the community once again. I know that as this process unfolds God will be glorified and His people will be more effective in bringing in those who are lost.

Categories: church
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