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How Cool is Too Cool? Ignatius!

18 Apr

In my ministry my greatest fear has always been that I will sacrifice biblical truth to be relevant or cool. This video show why.

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5 Comments

Posted by on April 18, 2009 in Ministry of the Word

 

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5 responses to “How Cool is Too Cool? Ignatius!

  1. Chris Honeycutt

    April 20, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    There is a great deal of vapid, if not “shallow” personalities and ministries out there (not just in the youth area) that fail to be deep and authentic representatives of Christ. Often they promote the “good life” for us a little more than “God’s life” for us. At the same time, we should never throw “the baby out with the bathwater” when it comes down to relevance.

    Being truly “relevant” is communicating Biblical truth and sound doctrine into a social context… and sometimes this means a specific demographic (youth, young adults, blue-collar, suburban, urban, etc.) We often have to adapt our style in order to reach them, but obviously we should never dilute the Gospel.

     
    • pastorsro

      April 21, 2009 at 10:10 am

      Certainly the search for relevence is not confined to youth ministry. My contention is that we do not have to be relevant in order to communicate biblical truth. Relevance as I understand it is looking, talking, and acting like the demographic we are trying to reach. Though we attempt to communicate truth about a new man in Christ we appear to be chasing the old man as we strive for relevance. This is not to say that we offend cultural sensibilities (I wear a suit to preach mainly due to the convention of my culture), but I simply think we strive too hard to achieve relevance in the name of evangelism (Should the African church be silent about biblical marriage when faced with converted polygamist men who refelect their African culture?). If it is the Holy Spirit who truly draws, convicts, convinces, and converts the lost man why do we think he is confined to using us in contexts where we are culturally relevant? It has been my experience that reguardless of what I look like the greatest barrier between me and the person I try to witness to is my drawn lips or stubborn refusal to go. In Romans 10:14-15 it is the preaching and going that Paul identifies as the human means the Spirit utilizes to win the lost. If this is what the Spirit utilizes there can be no mistake that God deserves the glory alone for a converted soul!

       
      • Chris Honeycutt

        April 28, 2009 at 1:29 pm

        Sorry, just saw you had replied…

        “but I simply think we strive too hard to achieve relevance in the name of evangelism (Should the African church be silent about biblical marriage when faced with converted polygamist men who reflect their African culture?).”

        Heavens no! Again, relevance is not to be confused with tolerance of sin. (and I have heard that situation in Africa and in other areas before in seminary, which was dealt with properly from my professors)

        Relevance is also about not how you look like (shouldn’t pretend to be something/someone you’re not, as that is a form of vanity) or even what the church looks like, but rather what your approach is.

        A good example is how some churches overseas resemble more like sitdown dinner conversations, with food, fellowship, singing (in their native style), intercessory prayer, and Biblical teaching/preaching all while being in the squatting position. Compare this with rural southern church services with an altar, choir loft, and pews. The method (or approach) here is different, but the purpose and what is being accomplished is the same.

        This should be no different in how some churches are today in the U.S. In this ever-changing culture, for some folks a traditional church setting is not for them (for whatever reason that is), so they might be more open to a place that feels “comfortable”. And again, the Gospel in all of this should never be diluted.

        This is not to say one way of doing church is better than another, but again sometimes our approach matters.

         
      • pastorsro

        April 28, 2009 at 2:22 pm

        I happen to agree with you about the difference between relevence and tolerance of sin; however I do see a connection between the two. I think that the desire to be relevant leads in some situations to a tolerance of sin. I have not totally fleshed out the relationship but I think about how the two intertwined in my ministry. I taught a topical series on dating essentially saying that dating could be done to God’s glory because I wanted to be relevant. In truth I should have “kissed dating goodbye” as far as youth ministry. Though I did not know it at the time I have discovered how many of my young people were led into sin because of bad decisions in dating relationships. I never condoned the type of decisions they made, but because of my desire for relevancy I opened the door for the tolerance of sin. Biblical truth must necessarily drive a ministry, but if relevance is in the mix as a desire I think it makes navigating the waters so much more difficult (or at least that is my experience). In some ways the biblical picture of throwing out the leven (even just a speck) applies.

        I also agree that methodology as far as generational worship styles, ethnic cultural engagement, and church polity issues should be minimized as long as essential doctrine is maintained. I especially like what you said at the end of the comment though. I am sure that approach does matter, and that is the reason I comment on relevance. What some clamor for calling it relevance I would call preference. My preference is for a praise band with Third Day like music; however I also must say I have a growing appreciation for quartet style Southern Gospel since I have been in those churches. If I live by my preferences I would never have discoverd Southern Gospel. Further, I am just curious how God would view me changing churches for my preferences? God’s Word says that we are one body. We cannot exist effectively without all members working together in spite of preference.

        Most importantly, when I think of the sinful man I was (and still am being transformed from) I am overwhelmed when I think of the supernatural love it takes for someone who is not relevant to reach out and share the gospel with a person who is lost. If it had not been for four or five men in my life who I would not have considered relevant, but who shared the gospel truth regardless of relevance with me, I do not know if I would be a Christian. I am sure I would not be in ministry.! I thank God those men did not care about relevance, but about me. Preach the Gospel in season or out! Even if I am out of season with a brother, I should still share the good news with him!

        Thanks for the Iron Sharpening Iron effect. Our conversation has helped me clear up my thinking!

         
  2. Chris Honeycutt

    April 28, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    You put a lot of thought into this! Haha…

    And I agree that it doesn’t take this oft-repeated term of relevance to get results. I was discipled in a rural church, but I was able to be exposed to genuine Christian believers, sincere worship (not exactly the most contemporary either!) and sound preaching. It made me the minister I am today!

    At the same time, I was also exposed to, or raised in, the “church culture” from an early age. I was already comfortable in that setting. What we have to consider though is not everybody has the good fortunes of knowing what church should really be like. If they get a bad taste of it early on, it can affect them the rest of their lives in ever trusting it again. This is where other “methods”, “approaches” or “preferences” come into play. People won’t just be attracted (at least not in the long term) by what’s “in” or “cool” at the time or by who goes there, but rather are they authentic?

    I think that sometimes we peg down certain “Christianese” terms in the wrong light, and are then-on uncomfortable or unwilling to accept them for what they can offer (when done right). I used to think “traditional” churches were out of touch in a lot of ways, when I would later realize that it depends on the environment that it is in. If one looks hard enough, they can find effective ministries who are discipling mature believers, and changing their community for Christ, in any church style.

    Would a “relevant” (in the contemporary sense) church work in Enoree? Probably not. Can it work in Columbia? Absolutely. So on and so forth…

    Be blessed and keep up the good work in Enoree!

     

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