Thursday, March 3, 2011

Are you an irrelevant dinosaur?

I was recently reflecting on aging dinosaurs, which is weird because I’ve never been a dinosaur lover at all.  But I wasn’t thinking about a large Tyrannosaurus Rex or the super scary Oviraptors.  Unfortunately they have already aged out of our planet earth (although the movie Jurassic Park taught me that they could still be hanging around somewhere).

The dinosaurs I was thinking about were items or organizations that have lost their relevancy.   Think about the last time you used a payphone – what decade was that?  Could you even find a payphone right now if you had too?  When’s the last time you walked in to a florist to order flowers to send to someone out of town? Our church purchased an old Moose Lodge as our meeting place because they were unable to pay their bills due to declining membership and a lack of interest.

Why is Blockbuster struggling?  Because they felt it was ok to charge almost $5 for a new release, where other stores charged much less.  They also were soundly defeated by two new ways of renting movies to consumers – via the mail through Netflix, or via kiosk-utilizing Redbox.  It has since copied both ideas, but it appears to be too little too late.

My point is this: We constantly must be evaluating our relevancy to our time and place in history.  There was a reason why Jesus spoke about farming and fishing as much as He did while teaching – it’s what His audience understood.  If He had spoken about space travel, He would have lost His audience due to their lack of knowledge and interest in such adventures.

This why we as believers must get creative in understanding and sharing Jesus with those who need to meet Him.  With all of the technological advances, people are constantly bombarded with new ways of understanding and learning.  Our message must be truth, and it must be relevant in order to reach today's citizens of earth. Our culture has changed – people aren’t going to church because it’s the right thing to do like in days gone by.  We’ve got to engage them where they are – if we wait for them to enter our building, we might not get a chance to engage them.

My fear is that some organizations might be too large or unwilling to adapt.  In 50 years, people could be laughing at us for listening to CD's, or driving our own cars, or shopping at Wal-Mart.  Ask JC Penneys or Pontiac how that feels.

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