...relevant. That is the question.
In our local Sunday paper I read: "As our church grows older, we will almost certainly find increasing difficulties, not only by losing our relevance in the community but in even sustaining ourselves financially."
I hear this more and more. I suppose we don't want to be irrelevant ("unrelated to the matter at hand"), but what do people really mean when they talk about the church being relevant ("having a bearing on or connection with the matter at hand")? Was Noah's message relevant when "few, that is, eight souls were saved"? Was Isaiah's message relevant when God said, "Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not" Was the message of Ezekiel relevant when God said, "And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear"? I am afraid we find more relevance in the number of people we "reach" than understanding that God's message is always relevant for all people of all times, and that is not based on the number of people who receive it.