The most frequent and maybe even most important reason people are leaving the church and not returning into fellowship is that they believe God is irrelevant to their life. In spite of this, it is the ‘God” being preached about that they think is irrelevant as they are actually wanting to know that there is a God and that He cares about them.
Let’s admit it, most people don’t experience God at a typical church service. They are not looking for the deep theological trivia that seems to interest a lot of preachers and teachers. They crave something rather simple. They want to be reassured that God is realm that He is more than an historical figure, that He is present today, and that He is active in the lives of the people around them.
They don’t understand that God IS real and active in their daily lives. What evidence do they get of God at church? It’s not through a sermon full of well-quoted Scripture and unrealistic platitudes. It’s not with a handful of beautiful sung worship choruses. It’s not because of a rigorous handshake at the door. And it’s not from a plate passed around the room to collect their money.
I am not being cynical. I too want to explore and experience God in church. I too have struggled with finding any evidence of God in daily life in the world today. Like me, most people simply “want to see Jesus” (John 12:21) and really follow Him.
Sadly, research by the Barna Group reveals that only 44 percent of people who attend church every week say they regularly experience God at church. No wonder God doesn’t seem relevant.
In a place where no one is allowed to ask questions, share doubts, engage in dialogue, or be completely honest, relevance simply can’t exist.
People are spiritually hungry. People do want to grow closer to God. People are eager to find meaningful relationships. But people also have real concerns and issues that are seldom if ever addressed in church. I are not sure churches can be relevant when they don’t seem to be in touch with the raw, everyday lives of the community around them.
Relevance isn’t the worship pastor showing his tattoo on stage. Relevance isn’t serving fair- trade coffee in your lobby. Relevance isn’t showing the latest popular movie clip during a sermon.
True spiritual relevance is seeing God in the matters of life right here at hand in daily life. Seeing God in MY life.
Is it possible to create a church environment where people truly experience God all the time? Is it possible for church to be known as more in touch than out of touch? Is it possible for the church to become known as the most relevant place to go?
Yes, yes, and yes. And yet…