Spend time in conversation with just about any Christian and the importance of relevance is bound to come up. Years ago I was at a church where relevance was one of the key areas of focus when it came to ministry.
And before you start throwing stones at how awful that is, consider the other options, irrelevance. What’s worse: trying to be relevant and failing, or just being irrelevant?
I don’t think being relevant is the problem.
It’s how we get there.
A few months ago I helped launch a couples group at our church that I have no role in leading. Instead, three older couples lead the group as mentoring couples. You’d think they’d all realize the immense amount of wisdom they have at their disposal. Actually, no. In their own ways, they are each concerned about not being relevant enough.
The problem with seeking to be relevant is you often become inauthentic in your endeavor to reach it. It’s this kind of relevance that is too fake to come alongside others in a meaningful way.
So I have encouraged these older mentors not to be relevant, but to be them. All of the younger couples in the group desire for their lives to reflect more of who the mentoring couples are, and that only happens when the mentor chooses to be who they are, nothing else.
You can extrapolate this to plenty of other situations. Churches, pastors, schools, athletic teams, there’s this ongoing push to stay relevant. But first and foremost what is relevant is being who you are.