Redefining Relevance

Redefining Relevance

Written on 02/27/2020
Jon Imbeau

Refocusing on Scripture

Written by Jon Imbeau, executive director of Awana International Canada

When I decided to become a pastor, my youth leader gave me what I now consider a sparkling gem of wisdom. He said, “Be sure to never speak about God if Scripture isn’t at the core of what you are saying.” I’ve considered that advice many times through my years of speaking to kids, youth, and adults.

The truth is that we are saturated with information. Some of it is really good information, but it can let us get away with speaking “truth” without actually opening the Word of God.

I fear that more and more church leaders are favouring extra-biblical advice or information over a focus on Scripture. Let’s refocus and talk about why Scripture is key for a healthy ministry.

Scripture is the word of God

“All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 16-17).

Discipleship is about drawing closer to God, and we know that when we do this He in turn will draw close to us (James 4:8). As we read, memorize, meditate and even sing the Word of God, we allow His breath, His words to come over us.

A young adult asked me recently what more he should be doing in his relationship with God. He knew that a deeper, more fulfilling relationship could exist, and he longed for it. Thirst for God is a good thing, because when you thirst you will be satisfied. God is drawing close through His Word to quench our thirst, if we would just respond to His lead by taking up the Scriptures and meet Him there. I challenged the young man to read James in one sitting. You should try it too!

Scripture is relevant for us now

The children we lead today are faced with everyday pressures that didn’t exist when the Bible was written, so how can we disciple today using this ancient text? Should we be trying to fit verses into our topical teaching times or simply draw on them when we are teaching theology? Do we sacrifice relevance if we favour Scripture?

When I say Scripture is key I mean there is nothing more relevant than God and His word. God’s Word can and should help us navigate our everyday lives. Consider these verses and what they teach us:

  • 1 Peter 1:24-25 – topics may change but the Word of the Lord endures forever
  • John 1:14 – we serve a living God, and He dwells among us
  • James 1:5 – He gives wisdom generously to all who ask.

The Bible is as relevant today as it was during the centuries in which it was written. God is dwelling among us and perfectly capable of advising us today just as He was yesterday and always. We aren’t lacking anything when we ask God and look to His Word for direction. We are lacking only when we don’t do that first.

In the Nov/Dec issue of Love Is Moving I challenged you to consider five key principles of a healthy youth ministry. In the Jan/Feb issue we took a closer look at the gospel and the value of repeating often and urgently. We have lots of challenges and encouragement still to come. Follow our series and our related blogs.