How to Be Irrelevant

What do pulpits, a stool, community, relationships, and the Word of God  have to do with being relevant?

9 thoughts on “How to Be Irrelevant

  1. Hey Doug,

    Nice post as usual.

    At the center of our church is a table — that is where “community,” properly defined, takes place. Off to the sides of that table are two pulpits. One for the reading of the word, the other for the proclamation of the word.


  2. Hey Rev. K,

    I almost included a statement or two about communion, but for the sake of time I opted not too. Thanks for bringing it up,

    BTW: when are we going to hang out again,



  3. Thanks for this very interesting video! I hadn’t realized your point about pulpits and how they used to be so central and huge “that you had to climb up into in order to proclaim the Word of God.”

    In Florida, they will soon be voting on whether to allow Christians to have custom license plates with either a cross or the image of Jesus on them:

    Do you think this is a good idea, or does it only add to the irrelevance problem?


  4. Doug,

    Thanks for this message. I am pastor of a small church in a small town, and I have dedicated myself to the preaching of the gospel above and beyond anything else; and to educating the people of my church about who God is, who Jesus is, and what it truly is that believe in and hope for. We are a church that averages 30 people on a Sunday, and we have done more good for the community than the churches of 100-200 people (my town only has 7000 people and there are 27 churches!!! so no mega-churches). It all started with preaching the word and fostering a desire to live that word and take it to the world.

    I do have some thoughts on this, though. I am sure that there are churches that have forgone the pulpit for something more ‘relevant’, but I wonder how many. I mean I have never been in a church that didn’t have a pulpit- and most of them were very prominent. Of course, I am also from a liturgical church denomination that likes tradition, so removing something like the pulpit would be less likely. I like what Rev. K had to say about the communion table, which is what is at the center in our church. However, I agree and teach that the word is primary to the task of the church and then communion is an expression of our response to that task.

    I do wonder why this blog has a pen as the symbol at the top instead of a cross or some other symbol of the faith. In comparison to the idea of the pulpit, I will say that I bookmarked this page because of the radio program several months ago- but never bothered reading it because the symbol was a pen, which didn’t strike me as pointing to Christ. Just a thought considering the topic of your video post. =-)

    Thanks for the ministry you guys do.


  5. Hey Mike,

    Thanks for the comment. I think the reason we have pen at the top is because it came with the layout of the blog, and we are not sure how to change it. 🙂

    God bless and keep up the good work at your church,



  6. Doug,

    I was being silly more than anything about the pen at the top; but I know what you mean about not knowing how to change it. I have scoured the internet for good wordpress themes. Between my Christian blog linked to my name here, the blog I post my Sunday sermons on, and the blog I run about the Pitt Panthers (guess I am a nerd), it has been terribly difficult to find themes that fit and look nice. So going with the basic plain one works.

    I should comment that as an Episcopal priest, while my church tradition would never remove a pulpit; it apparently has no trouble removing Jesus. While I am extremely orthodox and faithful to the gospel, as are many of my clergy friends, it never ceases to amaze me just how liberal the Episcopal Church has become. Of course we aren’t the only one. Surprisingly, the reason people know more about what we do than other denominations is because we actually have an official media relations department that makes sure we are in the news regularly. I wish that was a joke. Unfortunately, we are in the news for our progressive views- which makes it so much harder for those of us trying to grow God’s kingdom through the preaching of Christ crucified.

    In many ways, this shift to the left within so many mainline denominations is both worse than, and also the root of more orthodox churches trying to find ways to be relevant. It is hard to reach people with a radical and life changing message of submission to God in Jesus Christ when the church down the street tells people anything goes. Thus, foolishly I might add, many orthodox churches abandon the power of the gospel (not believing that the word alone, combined with the Spirit is enough to transform the world) by seeking to be relevant in other ways. Wear a Hawaiian shirt and sandals to preach. Have props and gimmicks. Put up a few plasma tvs outside the sanctuary for those who won’t commit to waling through the door. Remove the pulpit. Take down the cross (it is offensive after all). Once they are done “becoming relevant,” what do they have left that is relevant to the gospel?

    Sorry for the rant. =-)


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