Being a Relevant Church Leader – Nu Leadership Series

“Good leaders must first become good servants.”
Robert Greenleaf

Is the church still relevant? This is a question that I often hear from outsiders of traditional religious institutions. If a leader is to be effective, he needs to understand the cultural changes. You can’t avoid it, Leader. I’m not proposing that churches assimilate worldly viewpoints, but simply that they recognize a changing culture. Spiritual leaders shouldn’t ignore it. The following activities represent a sample of the many cultural changes for contemporary churches: shopping on Sundays, women wearing pants, racial integration, and playing cards. Many religious scholars in times past called those things taboos. Some individuals are calling today’s church less relevant to the Believers because of these culture shifts and the reluctance to acknowledge any cultural significances. George Barna, author of Growing True Disciples, suggests that churches are missing their evangelistic calling, largely because they don’t understand today’s world. Barna advocates the following changes:

  • Shift from a program-driven ministry to a people-driven ministry
  • De-emphasize recalling scriptures to applying biblical principles
  • Move from a concern about quantity (members, programs, etc.) to quality (lifestyle changes, relationships, etc.)

Unfortunately, many leaders don’t want to change because it may endanger their livelihood. Leaders, take courage! Do the right things! Clearly, God doesn’t want us to follow society’s direction and live by the Flesh (Galatians 5). Conversely, God wants us to grow in spiritual maturity and display the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Start today!

Therefore, spiritual leaders should understand culture influences so that they can create effective strategies for ministries. Start today!


Barna, G. (2000). Growing True Disciples. Ventura, CA: Issachar Resources.

© 2006 by Daryl D. Green