There was a great article at ChurchRelevance.com on Relevance.
Here are a few of my favorite points.
Christlike relevance is established by ministering to the timeless needs of people.
Rick Warren of Saddleback Church (Lake Forest, CA) says, “There will always be people who need to be loved or who feel guilty, resentful, or lonely. People will always need purpose, meaning, and a cause to live for.”
Mark 16:15 (NLT) says, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.”
What: preach the gospel (timeless message)
Who: everyone (timeless needs)
How: like Christ (timeless methods)
Wayne Cordeiro of New Hope Christian Fellowship (Honolulu, HI) says “Do everything ‘heart first.’”
The best way to improve your Christlike relevance is to follow Joshua 1:8 and speak and study God’s Word daily.
Cultural relevance is established by understanding culture and speaking its language.
Jesus understood the culture of His time and used it to illustrate spiritual truths in His parables. If you want to better understand Christ’s parables, study the Jewish culture of His day.
Reggie Joiner of the reThink Group says, “Relevance is simply using what is cultural to say what is timeless. In other words, the best skill that you can develop in your ministry is understanding how to become a student, how to manipulate, how to use the culture that is around you so that you can say what is timeless.”
Paul shares his pursuit of cultural relevance in 1 Corinthians 9:20-23 (CEV): “When I am with the Jews, I live like a Jew to win Jews. They are ruled by the Law of Moses, and I am not. But I live by the Law to win them. And when I am with people who are not ruled by the Law, I forget about the Law to win them. Of course, I never really forget about the law of God. In fact, I am ruled by the law of Christ. When I am with people whose faith is weak, I live as they do to win them. I do everything I can to win everyone I possibly can. I do all this for the good news, because I want to share in its blessings.”