He Said What?

When an organization (whether it be a church, parachurch, or seminary) develops core values, that organization has willingly entered into a business paradigm.  Follow-up questions about plans, metrics, and definitions are the next logical step.

And even if relevance is difficult to define, we must achieve some clarity.  If we do not, if we start out fuzzy on our definition of relevance, we’ll be that much fuzzier on our destination.

Knowingly or unknowingly, when we fail to define relevance, we sidestep accountability.  For how can we be accountable if we haven’t defined relevance?  Worse yet, without accountability and a means of measuring relevance, we often unrightfully assign ourselves the title of relevance.  And since we haven’t defined what it means in our situation, who can argue wheather or not we’ve achieved it?

Relevance is a tricky thing.

We can’t self-profess our way into it; we have to earn it.  Relevance is something others believe about us, not what we believe about ourselves.  It’s kind of like humility.  No one can accurately say they’re humble.  If they do, then they’re not, even if they actually are.  This is true for individuals, and it is true for churches as well.  Putting “relevant” on a banner or business card is a trendy thing to do these days.  But it’s nothing more than a slogan until others grant us this attribute.  A church can say it is relevant and even believe it’s relevant.  But unless the surrounding community believes this, that church isn’t relevant.” –Kary Oberbrunner excerpt from The Fine Line: Re-envisioning the Gap Between Christ and Culture (pg. 40 and 41)


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