It’s truly fascinating how certain words conjure up intense emotions in people. Heated debates ignite around terms like “seekers,” “contemporary,” “innovative,” or “relevance” among preachers; you can’t help but notice. These discussions might go in different directions, but in many respects, the words themselves should not be up for debate.
While some people firmly resist the notion of a church being labeled as “contemporary” or “culturally relevant,” hardly anyone would contest that Jesus is the most relevant figure in history. Let’s consider that Jesus perfectly aligned Himself with the culture He aimed to reach. His identity and actions resonated with people profoundly.
Jesus communicated using the language of those He aimed to reach. His clothing mirrored theirs; He ate the same food and listened to the same music, all to establish a profound connection. Jesus, without a doubt, didn’t operate in isolation but instead identified with the very fabric of the society He encountered.
If Jesus exhibited relevance within His cultural context, local churches today should be equally relevant within their culture. As followers of Christ, we carry a transformative message, one that holds the potential to alter lives. It would be very sad if people couldn’t find common ground with the messengers of Jesus.
In Mark 6, we see a glimpse into Jesus’ cultural engagement. He ate at Levi’s house, mingling with sinners and tax collectors, with His disciples in tow. The world gravitated towards Jesus, drawn by His ability to connect and empathize. Jesus was not detached – He fostered connections. This rapport was so compelling that people chose to follow Him. The Church today should be just as relevant. It should draw people closer to God and ignite in them a desire for deeper connection because of the lives of His followers.
Jesus’ cultural relevance was based on a commitment to steadfast truth. Jesus navigated the task of conveying an unchanging message to an ever-evolving world. This is our same challenge today – upholding the authority of God’s Word while adapting to connect with our intended audience.
When missionaries travel to other countries, they immerse themselves in local culture while preserving their convictions. They resonate with the culture without forsaking their core beliefs. They integrate with the local culture rather than opposing it.
Churches earnestly devoted to making disciples worldwide will find ways to connect with the cultures they aspire to reach. They will do so without compromising their message, striking a balance that bridges the gap with lost seekers who hopefully will one day become fully trained disciples.
Impact Discipleship Ministries can help you if you want to become a disciple-making church. Contact us at impactdisciples.com to learn more about how we can help your church.
Because of the importance of intentionality in disciple making, we at Discipleship.org are going to emphasize this skill set and mindset over the next four months. Please join with us and seek to share understanding, insight, and practical tools so that you can become skilled at intentionality in relational disciple making and you can help those on your team or in your leadership group to do the same. There are four ways in which we are emphasizing intentionality to help you in the next four months.
- Discipleship.org City Tour Forums – our four City Tour Forums are designed to help you and your team both understand and develop an intentionality posture. The tour is comprised of one day, high impact forums where there will be teaching and round table discussions. Every attendee also gets a copy of Brandon Guindon’s new book, Intentional: Living Out the Eight Principles of Disciple Making.
Click the image below for more information.
Take the FREE Individual Disciple Maker Assessment – we designed this assessment with a team of national and international disciple making leaders to help each individual be able to evaluate their disciple making mindset and skill. Just by taking this assessment, you will gain an appreciation for the value of intentionality, along with a sense of how you can increase your own level of intentionality. Click the image below to take the assessment.
- Read the short FREE book, Becoming a Disciple Maker: The Pursuit of Level Five Disciple Making – Bobby wrote this short eBook with statistician Greg Wiens to help you understand the mathematical and practical impact of one person’s disciple making efforts and skills.
Click the image below to download this free eBook.
- Read Brandon Guindon’s book, Intentional: Living Out the Eight Principles of Disciple Making – Brandon wrote this Discipleship.org book and Zondervan is publishing, because the understanding and practice of disciple making is so crucial. Every attendee at each of our City Tour events (Nashville, Houston, Dallas and Raleigh), as mentioned above, will receive a FREE copy of Brandon Guindon’s book.
Click the image below to order Brandon Guindon’s book from Amazon.com.
Please join with us in this quest to better understand and practice intentionality. It will help us all to become more and more like Jesus, the world greatest disciple maker.