Pastor Greg is teaching a seven-part Wednesday night series on the seven core values of our church and all of his life ministry.
This week is Core Value #6: Relevant Arenas
What do I mean by Relevant Arenas? Anything you can think of that a church might do, each area is an arena of ministry. What makes a ministry arena relevant to the modern needs, questions, concerns of seeking, unchurched, pre-Christians as well as still being relevant to long-time Church-raised Christians? An arena is relevant if it speaks to the felt needs of, the culture of, the ideas of, and the unique language of its target audience.
SOME FELT NEEDS
1) Belonging: People have the need to be part of something bigger than themselves, things like a family, an enterprise, a movement, heritage, history, involvement, making a difference.
2) Love: People have the need to express and experience unconditional love. People want to experience acceptance, forgiveness, friendship, encouragement, second chances.
3) Identity: People have the need to understand themselves, their place in the world, God’s relationship with them, the meaning of life.
4) Victorious Living: People have the need and anticipation that their current conditions in life or themselves personally, will be improved in the future. With the way 2020 went, we are all hoping and praying for a much better 2021, a year of victorious living. People need to win! People need to achieve! People need to make a difference! People need hope for the future!
5) Freedom: People have the need to have obstacles or restrictions removed from their path. People need leisure, simplicity, wholeness, and security, a safe place to ask dangerous questions.
6) Authenticity: People have the need to connect with others with integrity, consistency, and honesty. People have the need to experience truth and real feelings and behaviors from others.
Relevant Arenas are conducive to the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of people. Relevant Arenas combined with competent leadership allows us to get the important message of the Gospel across to unchurched people who don’t yet know Jesus by making them feel comfortable, accepted, loved, encouraged, and engaged.
The Church is Culturally Relevant – The rites and ceremonies of the church have never been, nor should they ever be, exactly the same in all places. They may be changed according to the diversity of country, culture, times, and people’s manners as long as they build up the Church and do not contradict God’s Word. ~ Pastor Greg in our Membership Book
THINGS THAT MUST NOT CHANGE IN THE CHURCH
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. ~ Hebrews 13:8
“The only person who likes change is a wet baby.” ~ Mark Twain
2) THE BIBLE
The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever. ~ Isaiah 40:8
3) THE CHURCH
While the methods and styles of the church must constantly change, stay relevant, there will always be a need for the church. There will always be a need for the visible body of Christ in the world. The church will always be needed because spiritual hunger will always exist.
From one man [Adam] He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though he is not far from each one of us.” ~ Acts 17:26-27
TWO THINGS THAT ALWAYS CHANGE, LIKE IT OR NOT
2) THE WAY OUR CULTURE VIEWS ITSELF AND PROCESSES INFORMATION
THREE OF MANY WAYS WE CAN KEEP OUR MINISTRY ARENAS RELEVANT
1) EMBRACE NEW TECHNOLOGY
No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins. ~ Mark 2:21-22
Jesus was always being criticized for the new and different methods he used, but He still consistently embraced what was new, effective, and culturally relevant for ministry. He was the Master of presenting timeless truth in the language and images of His culture.
Likewise, the church cannot minister to the people of this millennium with a methodology designed to reach the people of 1950! It won’t work! And God doesn’t want us to.
2) BE MODERN AND ENTHUSIASTIC IN WORSHIP
What will draw the next generation and beyond to this church, what will keep them excited and keep them coming back is the level of quality and creativity of worship elements other than preaching. Drama, music, lighting effects, and other forms of artistic expression will speak louder than the word of a “talking head” preacher.
Biblically, corporate worship is always more energetic and celebrative. Private worship in the Bible is more quiet and reflective. We’ve often reversed those in the modern church world. In many churches corporate worship feels more like a funeral. It’s only in our cars that we rock out and sing with all our hearts. That’s backward.
Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty expanse. Praise Him for His mighty deeds; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness. Praise Him with trumpet sound; Praise Him with harp and lyre. Praise Him with tambourine and dancing; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flute. Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals. Everything that has breath shall praise the Lord. Praise the Lord! ~ Psalm 150:1-6
To become more modern and change our worship with the times, how ironic that we also need to go back to the beginning with David?
3) PRACTICE THE ART OF BECOMING
For though I am free from all people, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may gain more. To the Jews I became as a Jew so that I might gain Jews; to those who are under the Law, I became as one under the Law, though not being under the Law myself, so that I might gain those who are under the Law; to those who are without the Law, I became as one without the Law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might gain those who are without the Law. To the weak I became weak, that I might gain the weak; I have become all things to all people, so that I may, by all means, save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it. ~ 1 Corinthians 9:19-23
To follow Paul’s example is not easy, in fact, it doesn’t come naturally to us. It only comes supernaturally. We can only adapt to, and minister to our culture, when we make an absolute commitment to it, as did Paul. Our culture is radically changing every day right before our eyes. Let’s always be ready for it with Relevant Arenas, ready to proclaim the life-changing message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.