The Price of Being Relevant


I have a frustration I want to share. As an Adventist pastor, the number one complaint I get from church members - particularly the millennial and post-millennial generations - is that the church isn't relevant. So as a pastor with a heart for youth, I have a vested interest in nurturing relevance in our churches. But here is what I have come to discover: the price of relevance is always offense. You simply cant be relevant without offending someone. 

So here is the dilemma: When the church is silent on current issues we say shes boring, irrelevant and out of touch. But when she speaks up we say shes too political and should focus on evangelism. Many pastors hesitate to stand up for relevant causes because they don't want to be marginalized by their congregations but in doing so they become irrelevant in the eyes of their youth and society. So its a lose lose it seems. Be quiet and you are irrelevant. Speak up and you are too political. 

My conclusion is this: the price of relevance is offense. You simply cant be relevant without offending someone. And the price of not being offensive is being irrelevant. The more irrelevant you are the less people you will tic off. So I say, lets stand for whats right. Let's not be like the church that stood idly by as the Nazi Reich gained power but like Dietrich Bonhoeffer who took an active stand against them. Let's emulate our pioneers who stood against slavery and alcohol, joined activist organizations like the temperance movement and the abolitionists - both of which were political - and let's do something other than speaking to ourselves and our own SDA patriotism. In other words, though the world hate us for it, lets do something meaningful for once. 

In today's scenario this means standing up for the rights of refugees and immigrants. Whether we agree with Trump or not, the least we can do is reach out to the immigrants and Muslims in our communities and let them know we welcome them and that they matter because regardless of what side of the issue you are on, the truth is a lot of people are hurting right now.

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