Thank you, thank you, Pete Grieg. You are quickly becoming one of my heroes.
Pete and his wife helped spearhead the planting of a church in a UK nightclub. When it came time to name the congregation, they felt some pressure. It “needed to sound cool and non-religious enough to attract non-churchgoers, but, after devoting way too much time to discussing the branding of the event, someone spoke up in exasperation: Who cares what the stupid name is? Let’s just call it what it is.”
And so they did. They called it “Church.” And lo and behold, non-churchgoers loved it.
Reflecting in The Vision and The Vow, he had this to say:
Sometimes it is when we stop trying to be relevant that we actually become relevant to a watching world. Our “irrelevance” may well be the very message the world is looking for at this time. Sometimes we will be called to defy the culture–never to deify it–by living biblically and modeling a different way of being a student, a musician, a teacher, or whatever world we have been sent to inhabit.
In his book Prophetic Untimeliness, Os Guinness rues the fact that, “never have Christians pursued relevance more strenuously” than we currently do, and yet “never have Christians been more irrelevant.” He attributes this sad state of affairs to ta number of factors, not least that “a great part of the evangelical community has transferred authority from Sola Scriptura to Sola Cultura.” In other words, we are being shaped more by the culture around us than we are by the Bible.
We must beware all the talk among trendy Christians of cultural relevance. During its first three hundred years, the Church grew exponentially, and yet it was radically committed to a biblical lifestyle that often clashed with the prevailing culture: “every Christian by definition was a candidate for death. To understate: if one wanted a soft life, or to get ahead in respectable circles, one did not become a Christian” [Alan Kreider, Worship and Evangelism in Pre-Christendom].