Buzz Word #4



This is the word, “relevance’s’” (buzzz) evil twin.

How so? Well, alot of churches believe that if they throw in some, “contemporary” (buzzz) stuff (dressing casual, drums, electric guitar, etc.) that automatically makes them relevant (buzzz). But if that were true, than anything contemporary (buzzz) would automatically connect to your audience.

But that connection is anything but automatic.


Because of a misunderstanding of what contemporary (buzzz) means.

Contemporary (buzzz) means (according to



Belonging to the same period of time: a fact documented by two contemporary sources.



Of about the same age.



One of the same time or age: Shelley and Keats were contemporaries.

And relevant (buzzz) means:



Having a bearing on or connection with the matter at hand.


Do you see the difference?


Contemporary (buzzz) carries with it the idea of being ‘up to date.’ In otherwords, the thing your doing, saying, or presenting in 2007 needs to match 2007 in order to be contemporary (buzzz).


Let’s take music for example. If your church’s music sounds like something right out of the 1950’s then you obviously aren’t concerned with it being ‘up to date.’ In fact, you might have a church full of Elvis fans, or people who are just diehard 50’s aficionados and don’t want to change for nothing!


If that’s your target, than you aren’t being contemporary (buzzz), but you might be very relevant (buzzz). If something is relevant, it connects with the group you are trying to reach.


It speaks their language.

It scratches their itch.

It makes sense to them.


The problem with churches who simply throw in an electric guitar and some drums because they think they’ve discovered the panacea for church growth is that they are not being true to who they are. They aren’t being authentic (buzzz). And people can spot inauthenticity from a mile away.


Now, let me throw another wrench into the works.


Did you know that there are a lot of churches today reaching thousands and thousands of new people, not by being contemporary (buzzz), but rather, by returning to traditional worship? Some are even going back to ancient (buzzz) forms of worship. I’ve even seen some where the feel is like you stepped back into the middle ages.


Far from contemporary (buzzz).

But very relevant (buzzz).

Very authentic (buzzz).


How can that be?


Simple, they know their target (buzzz). They understand who they are trying to reach and that being contemporary (buzzz) is not necessarily relevant (buzzz).


Its an important lesson to learn of you really want to see your church reach the culture.


That’s why at Southbrook we could care less about being contemporary (buzzz).


But we care very much about being relevant (buzzz).



Oh, one more thing.

I read my buddy’s post from the other day and was greatly encouraged about a freedom I have been experiencing over the last year.

I’m talking about the freedom to go after the unchurched, dechurched, confused, disenfranchised, hurting, seeking, hellbound, lost person with everything I’ve got!

You say, What’s the big deal about that Pastor Rob? I mean you’ve been going after those folks as long as we’ve known you?

Well, the big deal is this…

I sometimes would lose that passionate laser focus because of the occasional loss of one of the ‘already convinced’ crowd. But God has slowly (He has to go extra slow with me because I’m pretty thick-headed) shown me that I can go after one group or the other, but really can’t have both.

I mean God has hit me right between the eyes with this relevant (buzzz) truth and it has been amazingly freeing!

So freeing in fact that I often end up feeling guilty that I’m not bothered in the least when someone leaves – even for the most immature reasons (especially for the most immature reasons). But the guilt is just another form of bondage Satan uses on me. If I’ve given them the truth, pointed them in the right direction and provided everything they could possibly need to plug in and shine for Christ, yet they do nothing but sit and complain, critique and criticize then there’s nothing more I can do. Maybe someone else needs a try beating that dead horse, but the more time I spend cracking the whip on that lifeless thoroughbred, the more time I take away from those who are ‘far from God.’

Now that’s a tragedy!

Anyway, check out this post (scroll down to #3) by Perry Noble.

It helps when someone else you respect affirms what God is telling you!