What a time we live in these days – the economic landscape of the world is the worst it’s been since the Great Depression.  We have the most liberal government in power that threatens to turn our great nation into a socialistic mediocracy.  People are choosing anonymous 140 character sound bits over real, face-to-face relationships.  News stories impact our lives only as long as it takes the blogosphere to write the next 3 paragraphs.  And I find myself stuck in an existance that is flying by at the color of vanilla.

Oh there are bright spots of color – like getting to swim with my 3 yr old boy in the lake for the very first time and seeing my 10 mo old pull herself up for the first time and watch my wife develop into the most wonderful mom on the planet.  But for the most part, I wonder what God has for me – why does he keep me here on this planet, in this time, in this job, in this _____? No answers yet, but I know there has to be something more.  Until I get the “word” – I’m striving to stay relevant – to my family, in my job, at my church, in my community.

Relevance is the key to being given the chance to make a difference. If you aren’t considered relevant, then why would anyone listen, act or be moved by what you say or do? And the same can be said for organizations – especially and most significantly churches.  The moment a church loses touch with the culture around them is the moment their influence diminishes.  When that happens, because it is usually a slow boil, the way back to relevance is cloudy at best, if it can be seen at all.

It is, therefore, better to spend some time each day connecting with the world – seeing what they see, feel what they feel and be interested in what interests them. This has traditionally been hard for church staffs to do as they are neck-deep in running, planning and managing the various ministries of the church.

Very rarely would the majority of the staff even have the opportunity to interact with the world during the work day, which is consequently when the culture is most active. That’s no excuse though…for them or for us. As technology progresses and access to integrated tools becomes more prevalent, the excuses become less and less…well, relevant. I challenge you to stay connected to your world; to lift your head up and take notice of those around you; to ask the question, “Am I relevant to anyone? Do I make a difference?” and then do something to improve your scores.

Live there for a bit to gain some experience and then help someone else to do it. Talk to your church staff and encourage them to do what you’ve been doing. Here are some tools that I use daily:

  • Facebook | Get on and connect with your friends and then check it a few times a week. You’ll discover both people and information about those people that you didn’t know and can talk about over the next cup of coffee.
  • Twitter | It might shock you to know what can be said and shared in 140 characters or less. This tool allows you to share what you’re doing RIGHT NOW and then see what others are doing – whether it is experiencing a moving sermon or the shoe sale you stumbled on in your favorite boutique.
  • WordPress or Blogger | Blogging has been around for a good bit and is nothing more than a way to share what’s on your mind and invite discussion. Don’t look now, but your on a blog right now 🙂 These tools are free and easy to get started with and can provide a great way to share pictures or stories with friends and family that can be more accessible than e-mail.
  • Tweetdeck | This tool allows you to send Tweets (Twitter messages) and update your Facebook status from one application – very handy. Also works on most mobile phone platforms.