For many reasons, changes are changing society faster than we can blink! Adapting is not an option if we are to remain relevant. Remaining relevant in our work, our skill set, our ministry approach, communication methods etc… is also tantamount to our livelihood.
Think of Kodac who remained processing film, instead of pursuing digital photography. Overnight one day there were drastic repercussions. They no longer provided a relevant service. They were left behind. Unfortunately, we too can all make the same mistake.
How does irrelevancy sometimes manifest so we can nail it? Despite working really hard we can feel a God-abandoned feeling. Needs are not being met. People can’t connect. Joy is absent. Resources and man-power are drying up. Our fellowship shrinks. I want to pass on what I sense God wants to impart to our faith, so are proactive to remain relevant.
Relevancy requires being changed to become changers.
Here are some foundational ideas. Lessons learned from the life of Noah are consistent in many parts of scripture. Firstly, Noah was led of God, and also “warned of things to come” by God. He knew how things would change. So, he changed. Read about the trends. But, build on divine vision & God’s leading. Be in synch with the one who makes trends!
It never rained in Noah’s day and God said build an ark. Isn’t that the height of irrelevance!? But, God’s ways are higher! Interestingly, “as violence filled the earth,” Noah could have followed along, but instead sought to change the culture into one of safety. With tensions and conflict erupting around us people will seek safe people and the church of safe haven.
Cultural relevancy ensures lasting relevancy.
When it finally rained, a big ark was the pinnacle of relevance! That is God’s heart always. Total relevance. Doing culture well makes us relevant. From the beginning he told man, “Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it.” God blessed man as he was made in his image. He gave man the cultural mandate.
This means we are to bear God’s image and represent Him in government, business, music, in all areas of human endevour. One of the reasons churches and believers become irrelevant is when there is little to no cultural engagement. That is a recipe for cultural irrelevance and demise.
On the other hand, total embrace of culture without being salty, committed believers, will also make us irrelevant. We do well to learn from past believers. Yohann Bach from from 1685-1750 is renown as the greatest composer of all time till today. He said, “The chief end of all music is to glorify God.” His music came out of his devotional times with God.
We must remain salty in culture and society like many past believers. We have a situation today where huge numbers of believers may live in a region, yet the statistics for crime, poverty, exploitation etc…are the same as places without large Christian populations? We are not influencing or relevant to our culture. We have missed Jesus’ command to salt.
True relevancy requires being revived.
During the great flood, the ark was in the waters and was preserved, which was a type of being baptised into Christ (See 1 Peter Chapter 3 Verse 20-21). The old was put to death symbolized by the ark being immersed in the waters of judgment. Afterwards, there is a picture of resurrection as the waters subside. Then, a dove came to Noah to rest on the ark.
Similarly, the spirit of God seeks a place to rest on us. We cannot impact our culture without being born again and the spirit resting on us. Zecharia chapter 4 speaks of a man asleep before the lamp stand, with oil feeding into the lamp. We need a revelation of this, that we are the lamp stand for God. To shine, we need a steady feed of oil of God’s spirit.
The dove is seeking a resting place in our lives.
It is not enough to know God’s principles alone. Principle cannot be understood unless we have his presence. The dove is returning to his church in this generation. Only when the spirit is in us and upon us will we have the power to mimic Noah’s example.
“By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his (Noah’s) faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.” In these troubled times, the world needs an ark sized witness to the Lord’s goodness. It will be through our culture.
God doesn’t want our church venue to become a monument to former era of God’s move.
Johann Bach influenced his generation. He was of the former era. However, God promises that, “The latter house will be greater than the former.” Let us walk with God like Noah so we are positioned for relevancy. May God super-charge our witness for the sake of the lost.
We must ask ourselves how is our ministry culturally relevant? How is our motive to glorify God? How is our devotional life feeding our passion to serve God and shine for him in our work? How are we pressing into God to know the glory of the latter house; Christ in us. The spirit of God is seeking to rest upon us, to help us build an ark of refuge in this time.
Mark Rusic was born in Melbourne and has a bachelor in Mechanical engineering. He became a missionary to many suffering hardship and poverty on Madura Island in Indonesia, for about 4 years, from 1990. He has worked as a pastor-life coach over the past 17 years in Hope International Ministries. Mark is also an artist and author and has also written two books which are a collection of his own paintings, photography and poetry. These include ‘Iconic Melbourne of Australia’ and ‘Iconic Animals of Australia with a voice to release your giant potential within.’ He has been counted among some of Australia’s best-selling authors since 2014 and is a public speaker in various community groups, organisations and churches. He has a special grace to help people find and release why they were born. See iconiccolours.com for more information about Mark’s services.