Relevance- using what is cultural to say what is timeless.
For those with no biblical reference point, the beginning point is often that of relevance. They are asking, "Does this have anything to do with my life?" Or "Is it relevant?" Since we know it is true and we know it is relevant, we have to help them see that it is both. After you have done the most important part of working through the Scriptures to understand and convey them accurately, then help your hearers understand why they should pay attention. So, we would encourage you to start like this:
1. Why is this important and how does it relate to me?
2. What does the Bible say about it?
3. What am I going to do with what the Bible says about it?
1. The Bible says this.
2. It is important.
3. You should do it.
*Paul demonstrated this when he was invited to speak to a completely Jewish audience in Acts 13:16-20.
*When communicating to the less educated at Lystra (Acts 14), he used examples of nature, sea and crops. He spoke to an agrarian people with agrarian metaphors.
*When Paul was in front of a very different audience in Athens, his starting point was different which is found in Acts 17.
*The apostle Paul began where the people he was speaking to were. For the Jews, the starting point was their ancient history rooted in the Old Testament Scriptures. On the other hand, Paul connected with the Greeks at their point of relevance. Notice that he presented Christ in both cases. For us, we may start in a different place, but the context of the message needs to be Christ and the fullness of Scripture. The key is where the communication begins. Scripture sets the agenda and shape of the message, but every message needs the question, "Why is this important to me/us?" If there is no point of connection, the message is simply meaningless facts rather than life-changing truth.
Why is it so difficult to become relevant to our culture?
Answer- Instead of looking to the future, we become fixated on the past.
Jesus taught us to love the World, not our traditions. Traditionalism is the worship of our past experiences and methods. Instead of looking to the future, we become fixated on the past. We must remember that Jesus taught us to love the world, not our traditions. (illus. Nehushtan- Numbers 21:4-9, 2 Kings 18:1-4, John 3:14)
How do I become relevant in my life?
We need to follow the advice of the Apostle Paul that was given to the church in Corinth. "To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. 22To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings." 1 Corinthians 9:21-23
Church 3.0- Postmodernism is simply the abandonment of absolute truth. This requires us to reach our emerging culture in different ways. For a full synopsis of what I taught on the emerging church, click here.