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Since becoming pastor of Relevant Church, the one question that I have been asked is: “What does relevant mean?” I wish to shed some light on why we are the Relevant Church.
First let me share some names of churches I have either visited personally or have passed by while traveling — the Sanctuary, the Rock, Real Life Ministries, Mars Hill, the Potters House. While in eastern Kentucky, I drove by a big storage building that had been turned into a church. The name on the sign read Grace Warehouse. My first thought was that is great, a warehouse full of grace. In downtown Atlanta, there was a church named, “the Perfect Church.” I do believe the church is perfect, it’s the people that seem to mess it up.
The purpose of a name gives an identity, a value or a reference to the building. You can say it is a hook or a catchy logo to get people’s attention.
The name of our church building is “Relevant Church, Apostolic Faith.” What does it mean to be relevant? According to Dictionary.com, relevant is an adjective that means “bearing upon or connected with the matter in hand; pertinent: a relevant remark.” Synonyms listed include applicable, germane, apposite, appropriate, suitable, fitting. Wikipedia puts it this way: relevance describes how pertinent, connected or applicable something is to a given matter. A thing is relevant if it serves as a means to a given purpose.
Imagine a patient suffering a well-defined disease, such as scurvy, caused by lack of vitamin C. The relevant medical treatment for him would be doses of tablets containing vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Other medicines, such as vitamin B, are non-relevant. Something is relevant to a task if it increases the likelihood of accomplishing the goal.
To be relevant, we must fulfill the purpose or goal of the church. The purpose of the church is to preach and teach the full gospel of Jesus Christ — the death, the burial and the resurrection. That God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish … that we are only saved by the grace (unmerited favor) of God.
There is nothing I can do that would cause God to love me more and nothing I can do that would cause God to love me less. Only by his grace gives people the opportunity to repent of their sins, and to become a child of God (John 1:12,13) by being born again of the water and of the spirit (John 3:5). That through the death, burial and resurrection a person can have new life by separating themselves from sin and dedicating themselves to God. This gives them the opportunity to experience the peace that surpasses all understanding and the joy that is unspeakable and to have life more abundantly.
To be relevant, the church should “speak the things which become sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1). This includes teaching against sins that may not be politically correct in today’s world.
Only by teaching the pure gospel is what will transform a drug addict into a new person. Not just a changed person but converted where old things are passed away and behold all things become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).
The pure gospel has the power to uncover the deepest depths of our hearts, revealing every sin and offense and draws us to a place of repentance where Jesus will forgive us of our sins and change us from the inside, then will the outside fall into place.
If the church should ever succumb to the cultural or social gospel or think that we should make people feel more acceptable by never addressing sin, holiness or accountability to God, than we become irrelevant.
We meet every Wednesday at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 10 a.m. in a building with a sign in the yard that reads “Relevant Church, Apostolic Faith.” It is just a sign to identify the building. The church is not a building with a name. The church is a body of believers that have taken on the name … Jesus. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
The Rev. Rusty Bennett is pastor of Relevant Church located in Carrollton, Ky.