I don't love the term "Relevant". It's overuse and misuse has given it a tired, trendy, cliche connotation. It is too often used as reason to distill real purpose for the sake of public acceptance. It kinda makes me want to punch myself a bit. But relevance IS important.
If what you're doing does not have bearing or connection on "the matter at hand"... then you're likely not doing much of importance or influence. The Church has struggled to maintain it's "relevance" in North American society in past years. In vain attempts, we merely mimic art & culture (poorly I might add) three steps behind the decision makers and wonder why we're looked at as the tag-along kid espousing an irrelevant rhetoric from the back of the pack.
Now for the good news:
I believe The Church and the Message of Christ is a necessary message that DOES have bearing on the health of world, modern society and our local culture. Nothing I'll say hasn't been said before... and it's easy.
1. Be around people
Make friends of prostitutes and politicians... bums and businessmen alike. Do life together. Have dinner with them. Go to movies with them. Discuss politics together. Pray for real people about their real life situations... as a NORMAL person functioning as a NORMAL part of your NORMAL life. Really care about others and intentionally build them up.
This is where some church folks will throw the "peculiar people" line at me. Don't worry, a Christian mingling NORMALLY with others... showing care, offering prayer and intentional kindness towards them IS peculiar in our culture. It shows Jesus. Trust me. I've recently had people find themselves shocked that all of a sudden they were (without warning) friends... with a Christian. It's fun to watch :)
2. Be creative with the methodology (Go where people are!)
People are in pubs... go there together.
People are in libraries... go read and learn there together.
People are at art shows... go be inspired and create together.
People are in BIA's... go join yours.
People are on Facebook... go engage online.
People are in parks ... go play with them.
And if those places aren't interesting enough... CREATE SPACE for people to flourish.
3. Be confident of your message
Christians are pretty bold within "safe walls" but seem to have to muster up courage to speak out loud the truth by which they live outside. And when we do, we don't have the confidence to be just a real person with it. We overcompensate with demonstrative soliloquies that engage no one. Walls go up instead of come down.
When we live the kind of life that Jesus asks us to live publicly... people will want to understand it. Don't be ashamed of it! If we ACTUALLY believe that God breathed life into man and woman... and we're ALL in the process of being wooed into his presence... then don't be surprised when prayer combined with life a gracious, good life, lived out loud, instigates people's queries and interest.
4. Don't be offended by people's reactions
I have never heard of a leader of anything say anything but, have a think skin. If you do ANYTHING even remotely relevant (having a bearing or consequence with the matter at hand) some people in your house will vehemently disagree with you... AND some people in the community with vehemently disagree with you. They will even make convincing arguments why you should stop being relevant. It's fun when articles are written about your work online and anonymous internet people click "thumbs down" on you... ha.
Don't be offended! Offense will rot ya. Start going down the offense rabbit hole and you'll find words like "resentment" and "indignation" towards the very people you're called to love creeping around. Don't let them slip in.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
I think Bill S. Preston Esquire and Ted Theodore Logan summed it up...
Be Excellent to each other