“[N]othing could be more relevant than the God who made us and came to live among us in Jesus Christ. The real danger is not that we pursue relevance too much but too little: it’s too much about our culture and too little about God.”- Mark Labberton, The Dangerous Act of Worship: Living God’s Call to Justice
By the way, if you are interested in worshiping in a real, meaningful, dangerous, life-changing way; if you are interested in worshiping in spirit and truth every minute of every day, I highly recommend this book.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with conveying the gospel in terms that people can understand. In fact, that’s one of the remarkable things about the gospel; it transcends cultural restrictions and speaks to hearts in any tongue. It is more unifying and inclusive in scope than most Christians would admit (or care to admit, whichever the case).
But here’s the problem: if we worry about giving everyone what they can relate to, what appeals to their cultural appetites, we’ve not given people anything more than they already are and already know. The redemptive work of Christ is more relevant than the whims of culture. So, the more we are enslaved to a push to be relevant, the most irrelevant we actually become.
Worship must be intelligible, it must be understandable, and it must be flexible. But it has to call people out of where they are into the glorious life and light of Christ.
That means everything we use, traditional or contemporary, liturgical or free, somber or exuberant, vanilla or chocolate, must be measured by the same theological stick. Style and trends change, but we are called to worship a God that has forever remained the same and has forever been relevant.