I am reading John Piper’s Finally Alive!, a book I received in April at the T4G conference. I am going through the book, chapter by chapter, with a good friend. We read a chapter a week and then discuss it on Monday afternoons. (we are also reading through Romans together & are amazed how this book will often tie in with our bible study).
Below is a quote from the Piper as he discusses how he views “relevance”. I would echo his thoughts:
As a preacher, I think a lot about relevance. Why should anyone listen to what I have to say? Why should anyone care?
I want to say things that are really significant for your life whether you know they are or not. My way of doing that is to stay close as I can to what God says is important in his word, not what we think is important apart from God’s word.
My job as a pastor is to deal in what matters most, and to stay close to the revealed will of God in the bible (so you can see it for yourselves), and to pray that, by God’s grace, [all of us], will see and feel the magnitude of what God says is important.
Nothing is more important than the glory of Christ personally seen and savored in the kingdom of God with all the countless number who have believed in his name.
If you pick up no other book of John Piper‘s, this book would be the “must-read”. In it he encapsulates much of his other teaching. I encourage you to read this book and discuss it others. (you can download this book for free from Desiring God’s website here. There also is a sermon series from Piper that inspired the book)
Question: What are some practical ways that you think pastors can be “relevant” (preach sermons that make a significant difference in the lives of their congregations) and still hold to a “Gospel-centered” message?