Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Dangers of Relevant Ministry?

In my time with the Lord this morning, I read this passage from 1 Corinthians 2:1-5...

"And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God."

I have questions about some of the primary methods of churches that seek to provide "relevant" ministry. This passage brings up one of those questions. When we go into the world to learn the best of the world's techniques for communication, we may learn how to connect with the people around us. However, are we substituting "plausible words of wisdom" for the power of God when we simply follow the world's pattern of using media? If non-Christians who are attending our church have a comfortable experience, but they don't experience God's power, have we really succeeded?

It is possible, and at times necessary, to put the message of "Jesus Christ crucified" into a package that is attractive and understandable to people who don't understand Christianity. Furthermore, excellent communication produced an up-to-date style that connects with this media-savvy generation doesn't necessarily compromise that message.

However, consider this: Excellence and style in media are defined by the world, and without regard for the gospel. If we just set our message into that style, have we really done the message justice? Wouldn't it be better to begin with the message and create media that flows out of that message, out of our love for God, and out of his creativity? Are we dishonoring God by attempting to duplicate an experience people find in the world rather than being truly creative?
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