It is one thing to be culturally relevant in our worship settings:
-For the music to be relevant to the demographics of our congregations.
-For the messages to be relevant to our target audiences.
I’m not saying relevancy is wrong…we need to be relevant to some degree!
could there ever be a point at which we sell our souls for the sake of relevancy?
How far is too far?
How far do we go in order to reach our local cultures yet do not lose our souls in the process? There is no denying that The Salvation Army is needed and has the capacity to do wonderful things as we strive to help people in need. We mustn’t lose this in any transformational process. We cannot lose our identities as an Army of Salvation for the sake of “fitting in”. Booth wasn’t so much concerned with “fitting in” as he was concerned with meeting human needs in Christ’s name. He even worked with politicians to change labor laws and make working conditions safer for people by building a match factory. Booth wasn’t about merely “fitting in”, he (Catherine too of course) was about making a difference in people’s lives while sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Wearing a uniform doesn’t quite allow any of its Salvationists to “fit in”…but they are certainly identifiable, and these elements which make us stand out can help us to be a light in a seemingly dark world. We have the capacity to help transform lives with the help and power of the Holy Spirit. Our main goal should never just be about relevancy. This isn’t the main principle of what we do and who we are (or vice-versa). The principle can still be summed up in one of our oldest slogans “Soup, Soap, Salvation!” We were formed to go for souls and go for the worst. We are united under one God, One Salvation, One Hope for the whole world. We cannot water this down, but we can offer hope, love, support and grace one spoonful at a time.
Dear Salvation Army, have we sold our souls at times for relevancy?
Are we doing it right now?
Sometimes I fear that we chase the almighty dollar more than we chase after the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes I think that we fear what other entities including governments will do to us if we boldly proclaim the name of Jesus Christ in our programs and in public places.
Sometimes I wonder if we aren’t an army of Salvation anymore but rather more of an army of convenience and platitudes as long as no one is offended by the gospel.
Sometimes I wonder if we have lost a step in this march because of it.
Sometimes I wonder if we have been chasing after the approval of other people instead of the approval of God.
If this has ever or is the case…then we need repentance.
If this is the case in our personal ministries we need to seek reconciliation and a realignment of priorities and holiness.
To the faithful and to the upright…show us the way!
Be examples to the rest of us.
Help us when we have gotten so focused upon pleasing the world around us that we have strayed from our first love.
I am not casting any blame upon anyone more than myself in this entry of Pastor’s ponderings today. I have felt this conviction within my heart. These are personal and yet public because perhaps, just perhaps there are others out there who feel the same way.
Join me, pray with me, pray for me…and I will pray for you as well.
We are not alone in this fight…we never were.
We are an Army, fighting side by side and with the power of the Holy Spirit who can and will provide us His strength and guidance along this dusty rugged path.
“Give me one pure and holy passion.
Give me one magnificent obsession.
Give me one glorious ambition for my life
To know and follow hard after You.
To know and follow hard after you
To grow as your disciple in your truth
This world is empty, pale, and poor
Compared to knowing you, my Lord
Lead me on and I will run after you
Lead me on and I will run after you”
(by MARK ALTROGGE)
Something more of the Army to ponder today.
To God be the glory!