All of us have the need to be relevant in every generation. Something in us wants to make a difference. The effectiveness of all advertising is based on this premise. We hear the younger saying, “The world’s changed…try to keep up!”
As a young missionary in my 20’s my children needed me, my husband needed me, the tribal people needed us, our ministry was consuming and fulfilling, etc. I looked to those older than I was and saw the need to glean from their experiences. I had an unpretentious sense of relevancy!
For 5 years in our 30”s we found our relevance in…pastoring, evangelizing, teaching, mentoring small groups and “trouble-shooting” in our home church.
We weren’t in that “older” group yet!
Returning to the field, still in our 30’s, we were busy dorm parents to 15 young people at the Mission School. We had the “big dorm” and we were blessed with students from five families. Our need to “turn the hearts of the children to their fathers…” (Malachi 4:6) and the ministry in the local Chame community kept us relevant…………... we were still viable!
In our late 40’s our girls were in their teens and would soon start college. Christina attended Biola and would bring her friends from school and church to meet us.
We were becoming the “older” group that had more experience”!
When asked to mentor a group of young college girls I excitedly responded believing God would give relevance through His Word. Eventually a group of their prospective husbands took form, which my husband taught! We were busy church-planting Spanish-speaking churches and over the next 15 years we saw God raise up seven young churches in Southern California, Mexico and Panama.
God’s was still using us!
Still relevant to our culture and generation in our 50’s, even honored for our faithfulness to our God and His calling on our lives, we actively taught in English and Spanish.
Now we were really in that “older” group and yet…
God continued to open up opportunities to serve Him. We had 7 grandchildren and they were magic! Still church-planting, called to speak, teaching multiple mentoring groups weekly, trouble-shooting with young couples, and writing The Princess Parable Series were all welcomed responsibilities!
In our 60’s we watched our tiny grandchildren grow like my garden weeds (really fast!!) and they now stand taller than I do!
Keeping relevant is an absolute pre-requisite to maintaining the open hearts of our grandchildren! Finding that conversational relevance in a “generation time warp” is a prayer-filled occupation of mine!
Now… here is the rub. The world’s younger generation looks at “age” and determines its value. Consequently, they, then, turn their attention to the more appealing relevance of younger mentors, pastors, and teachers, rather than the older generation.
We are, after all, each expendable to the more like-minded,
trendier, faster moving and thinking generation!
Can’t you hear it? “The World’s changed…try to keep up”!
God never changes…cultures do, ideologies do, and philosophies do…
Relevance is a basic need to stay connected.
It is tied directly to an understanding of God and His inerrant Word!
Scripture never changes! It is always…relevant!
Our present day cultural insurgence has been saturated in a declining morality of divorce, abortion, pornography, social-acceptance determined by social tolerance, adoption of the “acceptable sins” (you know…demanding personal rights, entitlement-I deserve this!, wrong attitudes, anger, deplorable speech, actions etc.).
The young are bent on convincing their offspring to:
(1) “Stand up for yourself; Be more aggressive” – disregarding God’s command to follow His example of serving others… first.
(2) “Look for your own path in life” –disregarding the instruction in the Word to look for the Will of God…first
(3) “Claim your rights; you are entitled” – disregarding God’s command to yield all your rights to Him… first. No anger for your personal benefit.
(4) “Be first “ at everything - disregarding God’s command to make others successful…first!
(5) “Live in the Now” - disregarding kingdom teaching. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God….and all these things will be added unto you”. Matt. 6:33
In a day when our culture is being eroded from within, our godly history is being re-written and the Word of God is being ripped of its inerrant integrity, we need relevance for our day if we are to present truth that promotes change.
What can we offer that people need?
We ask ourselves that question whether overtly or subliminally every time we come in contact with another person. We are relevant when we discern the need of the individual we are speaking to and risk whatever it takes to meet that need for the other person’s success.
It is not age that makes us relevant…it is His life in us as we aggressively stand up with Godly conviction and step into the space He puts us in… wherever, with whomever that may be!
The purpose of relevance is to keep the truth of God’s Word
alive in us for the benefit of others!
Will you make yourself relevant today in the life of someone who is in need?
~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America. Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California. My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights.