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    "We don’t speak Latin any more, but we don’t know how not to speak church-speak to those who are outside"... How true--this is one of our greatest problems when reaching outwards into the world around us, and it's a problem whether we're trying to reach youth and young adults or baby boomers. While we shouldn't throw out biblical language, we can also find commonly understood terminology that adequately introduces biblical concepts as an intermediate measure. But please, please, let's toss aside antiquated, medieval terminology for our church structures. Unless we're worshipping in a Gothic cathedral using 16th Century liturgy, terms like "chancel," narthex," "sacristy," etc. have no relevance to anyone except those who were reared in high-church worship. We're barely a step removed from speaking in Latin or Greek when we use these terms. So long as we continue to design our worship to please those who are already "insiders," we'll have an uphill struggle to reach those on the outside. It's not only possible, but desirable, to have worship designed to draw the unchurched into the presence of God, that doesn't dilute the gospel, and that continues to edify the existing congregation.

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      I will clarify that Reverence:Electro-Ministry Team is not in any way currently affiliated with the United Church of Canada :)

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        Steve Simms

        Perhaps we need a Steve Jobs of religion to help us break out of religion and into biblical spirituality.

        • Creed Pogue

          Isn't Christianity the original counter-cultural movement? Aren't we supposed to be in the world but not of it? There is a major difference between going to people where they are and becoming the same as they are. We are supposed to be the change. If our goal is 'relevance" then it might be difficult to talk about change.

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            What will you do when today's youth and its music becomes middle aged and its music is passe? Will they be replaced by with the next generation with its music? Will the church become the old folks and their music, the middle aged and their music, and the young with its music? Or will the leaders find something more significant than music that will tie all the generations together?

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              Susy McAdams

              I am an older youth director and could not agree more. If we are not aware of who our youth are and come to understand (not judge) their culture why would they have any respect for what we have to say? Our youth are looking for their identity and our goal and guide, Jesus Christ, loves them where they are at. We have to be prepared to not "karaoke" their lives, but love, understand, and come to the crossroads of their culture and God's abiding love and presence for who they are. Some of the older church members are "afraid" that they will change the church, but I believe that they will transform and learn to live it in a very real, and interactive way if we can help them find themselves in God's Word. Thanks for sharing this.

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                We ought never consider our goal to be relevance. Rather, our goal is the Great Commission... to make disciples of Jesus Christ. But before bringing lost sheep into the fold (the church) for the purpose of disciple-making, we must first seek them out and share with them the gospel. So, where we must be relevant is in our search for sufficient commonality of language and culture that they may understand our message with utmost clarity.
                The church has long since given up the use of Gregorian chants because they no longer meaningful to most of the gathered body, much less the unchurched. The organ was once considered too profane to be used in worship. Some today resist the use of drums or electric guitars for the same reason. Music and worship styles have changed dramatically over two millennia, but the eternal message that we convey through them remains consistent. As the Apostle Paul so aptly described the need for flexibility in the medium through which we convey our message,

                "Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings." (1 Cor. 9:19-23)

                • Joel Bader

                  Reminds me about the story of the church in Oak Ridge, TN which witnessed a large influx of young newcomers who came to work on the Manhattan project. The church did not want to reach out to them, but preferred to keep things as they were. The new minister at the church, however, hoped the church would be busy and lively. Years later, the minister returned to the Oak Ridge church and found that the church was busy and lively--as a BBQ place. The congregation had lost members due to its aging congregation that it folded. As a former Methodist who felt left out because i was in a minority of young adults in my congregation, I share this warning to all Methodists. Change with the times--or die.

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                    Lay Leader

                    As one who was present at the event, what I appreciated was that it was not about the specific ways that innovation was occurring within the Connection, simply that innovation was occurring. The central theme was not what changes needed to be made, but rather that change was needed in order to effectively communicate the gospel to the world.
                    I can appreciate the concern about the church "watering down" its message for the sake of "relevance". However this event highlighted the need for us to speak a new language to the un-churched and un-interested in church.
                    The gospel stays the same, but the language and mediums in which we use to communicate it to the world around us is ever changing. It was awesome to be in a creative space with others, young and old, passionate about rethinking church for the sake of those who are not yet with us.