The question is how do we remain relevant in a changing world to most effectively reach this generation? In order to remain relevant there are two important spiritual issues we need to talk about. This goes way beyond how we look and what means we use to get the gospel message out. It touches our core values as believers. One thing I have noticed the Holy Spirit doing in His church is readjusting and refocusing our vision. Leaders are realizing that if the church is to continue to grow and be healthy our vision cannot only be inward, but it must be outward as well.
SHIFTING YOUR VISION
A strong healthy church will be focused on its people. It will be discipling, teaching, healing, restoring and equipping God’s people to be all they can be. However, there is a goal in mind. The purpose of building a strong church is not just to fill a bunch of seats and keep a building filled each week. The purpose of ministering to the body of Christ is so that the church can then go and reach the world. If we lose our outward vision, the church will cease from being relevant to the world around us.
God is realigning our vision. Churches are transitioning. And it all starts with vision. The vision of the people and the vision of the leaders. The goal should not be just to fill a building for the sake of having alot of people in church. The goal should be let’s impact as many people as possible within the four walls of the church so that we can become a church without walls and transform our society, our communities and the world in which we live. We are called by God so that we can be sent by God. But no one will be sent unless we open our eyes to see the vast opportunities that lie before us.
MEETING THE REAL NEEDS OF REAL PEOPLE
We will remain relevant as our vision moves outward. We need to take stock and ask ourselves a few questions. Are we seeing new people each week invited by friends into our church services? Are people getting saved each week in our churches? Are we properly teaching and discipling these new believers? But more than what we see in church on Sunday, are our people being mobilized to make evangelism and sharing their faith a simple part of their daily lives?
It is so easy to become self absorbed to the point that our time, attention and thoughts are consumed with things that are happening in our own lives. Ministry is not always easy or convenient. Sharing a message from God’s heart or reaching out and touching someones life with the love of God will not always happen when you are having a good day. There will be times when you feel like being alone. Or times when you don’t feel like talking to anyone. It may just be during those times that God will use you the most to advance His kingdom in someone else’s life. To be relevant, we have to remain selfless. The more self absorbed we are the less relevant and effective we will be.
Even Jesus experienced this. In Matthew 14:10-16 Jesus just discovered that His cousin John the Baptist was beheaded. He went to a solitary place to be alone. But the crowds followed Him. They needed healing and food. Jesus could have remained focused on His own pain and need. But instead He got His focus on the people and the one’s God sent Him to reach. Jesus was very relevant that day. Not only did He heal all the sick, but He fed all the hungry. To be relevant we must reach the real needs of real people.
STAY PLUGGED IN - IT’S A SUPERNATURAL GENERATION
That brings me to another point. To be relevant, we can never move away from the power of God. There is a large movement in the church today that is seeking to remove any display of God’s power from our church meetings so we don’t offend anyone. But the reality is, without God’s power people cannot be transformed or brought into the place God has destined them to be. There have been wonderful movements throughout church history that have been filled with both the powerful preaching and teaching of God’s word as well as with the freedom and power of the Holy Spirit. Not only did people learn the word of God, but they also encountered and experienced God in supernatural ways.
The sad reality is, many in the church have moved away from allowing the power of the Holy Spirit to move because they are afraid of losing people from their church. Have we become so refined and dignified that we have shut the doors on the Holy Spirit? As a result things may look good on the surface, but underneath, people are sitting in church meetings week after week with the same bondages they have had for years because there has been no anointing and power to break the yoke.
If the church is to stay relevant to a supernatural generation, we must once again embrace all that the Holy Spirit longs to do in God’s people. We must give the Holy Spirit room to move and minister to the deep needs in people’s lives. This generation has a very supernatural mindset. Just look at the movies being released from Hollywood. If we don’t meet this need by stepping into the flow of the supernatural power of God, we can possibly lose a generation. This younger generation is hungry for the real thing. They want to experience the power of God in their lives. That will only happen as we make the choice to stay relevant not just in our presentation and style, but by looking outward in our vision to the world and by staying connected to the power Source. As God is free to move in His presence and power we will remain relevant in reaching this generation for Christ.