So, What About The Name?

To Understand, We Must Ask The Question...

Why Do Churches Die?

Because They Have Become Irrelevant

In His Article, Why Dying Churches Die, Thom S. Rainer Gives Six Reasons
  1. They refuse to admit they are sick, very sick. I have worked with churches whose attendance has declined by over 80 percent. They have no gospel witness in the community. They have not seen a person come to Christ in two decades. But they say they are fine. They say nothing is wrong.
  2. They are still waiting on the “magic bullet” pastor. They reason, if only we could find the right pastor, we would be fine. But they bring in pastor after pastor. Each leaves after a short-term stint, frustrated that the congregation was so entrenched in its ways. So the church starts the search again for the magic bullet pastor.
  3. They fail to accept responsibility. I recently met with the remaining members of a dying church. Their plight was the community’s fault. Those people should be coming to their church. It was the previous five pastors’ fault. Or it was the fault of culture. If everything returned to the Bible belt mentality of decades earlier, we would be fine.
  4. They are not willing to change . . . at all. A friend asked me to meet with the remaining members of a dying church. These members were giddy with excitement. They viewed me as the great salvific hope for their congregation. But my blunt assessment was not pleasing to them, especially when I talked about change. Finally, one member asked if they would have to look at the words of a hymn on a screen instead of a hymnal if they made changes. I stood in stunned silence, and soon walked away from the church that would close its doors six months later.
  5. Their “solutions” are all inwardly focused. They don’t want to talk about reaching the ethnically changing community. They want to know how they can make church more comfortable and palatable for the remnant of members.
  6. They desire to return to 1985. Or 1972. Or 1965. Or 1959. Those were the good old days. If we could just do church like we did then, everything would be fine.

Churches become irrelevant when they can no longer connect with the next generation.

2 insights for a practical grasp of ministry relevance:
1) To be relevant, it simply means that it matters.
Relevance means what you do matters. Relevance means that your ministry makes a difference, and people’s lives are changed.
True relevance would suggest that the surrounding community notices your presence and appreciates your ministry. Relevance is measured only in part by attendance, and perhaps a smaller part, it’s truly measured by the community’s opinion of the good you do.
The first step in your city perceiving your ministry as relevant begins by knowing that you care.
2) Don’t confuse relevance with style or culture.
Relevance is not about your choice of worship songs or how casual you may or may not be; that is a matter of style, preference, and culture. Relevant isn’t about whether your shirt is tucked or un-tucked, or whether you preach 25 minutes or 45 minutes.
Ministry relevance is more about quality and effectiveness.


A RELEVANT CHURCH IS...

RELEVANT
A relevant church keeps it REAL.
  1. A church where leaders model vulnerability
  2. A church where people can easily take off religious masks and find real fellowship
  3. A church that values simplicity
RELEVANT
A relevant church’s brand of Christianity is EMPOWERED EVANGELICAL.
  1. A church whose theology is centered upon the Kingdom of God
  2. A church that holds in balance Word and Spirit
  3. A church where there is a high expectation of God’s presence and God’s present tense activity
  4. A church that submits itself to the Bible concerning all that we do and believe
  5. A church that welcomes all of the gifts of the Spirit
RELEVANT
A relevant church reaches out to the LEAST, the LAST and the LOST.
  1. A church that focuses on both evangelism and social justice.
  2. A church that does not exclude the weak.
  3. A church that practices both mercy and justice.
  4. A church that loves and devotes a large share of its time, energy and money to serve the needs of children.
  5. A church that passes on the faith from generation to generation.
  6. A church that does not simply grow by adding other churches’ members, but actually brings many people from darkness to light.
  7. A church where things are so clearly and reasonably articulated that they make sense to a thinking follower of Christ as well as the unchurched person.
  8. A church that is a friend to our community.
  9. A church that employs the talents of our church to serve our community.
  10. A church that gives away many of its people to plant churches in this country.
  11. A church that is actively engaged in world missions and particularly in planting churches among unreached people groups.
RELEVANT
A relevant church is one in which EVERYONE GETS TO PLAY.
  1. A church where every member serves, not just the pastor.
  2. A church that equips people through training both for serving others and for life.
  3. A church that equips families and supports marriages.
RELEVANT
A relevant church is VERTICALLY-ORIENTED.
  1. A relevant church serves an audience of one – God.
  2. A church in which people passionately worship God with all that they have: Their hearts, their intellects, their words, their bodies, their money – everything
  3. A church that is characterized by individual and corporate prayer.
  4. A church that seeks to honor God by having every endeavor marked by excellence, integrity, and love.
RELEVANT
A relevant church celebrates God’s AMAZING GRACE.
  1. A church whose atmosphere is grace.
  2. A church with many recovery and support groups.
RELEVANT
A relevant church helps people to deal with the NOT-YETS OF LIFE.
  1. A church that acknowledges that the fullness of the Kingdom is not yet here.
  2. A church that acknowledges “not-yets” in all areas of life.
RELEVANT
A relevant church believes that God’s kingdom comes when we work TOGETHER.
  1. A church in which individuals are connected to each other through a small group.
  2. A church that welcomes people from racially diverse backgrounds and is committed to becoming increasingly multicultural.
  3. A church that seeks to love and practice unity with the whole body of Christ.

WE ARE RELEVANT!