Wow! I just meandered into a shocker.

Cheri and I are preparing to minister in Cartagena and Medellin Colombia in a little over a week and one of our topics is “Staying Relevant in Ministry.”

PrJim Medellin conference flyer

So, doing what any individual seeking to BE relevant in our presentation would do, I googled “staying relevant ministry.”

I found out details on how to “re-brand” your ministry, how to make it look relevant to society, and many other innovative means to make the Christian message relevant.

But NONE of them had anything to do with Jesus.


We are taking a message of encouragement and hope to a group of pastors who need encouragement, direction, and passion for reaching their communities for Christ.

I have a strong feeling (based on past experiences with them) that they care very little (if at all) about “branding” their ministries.

Indeed, I thought the Gospel message WAS/IS about Jesus; yet ALL of my initial finds had more to do with cultural presentation and nothing to do with the REAL essence of ministry.

I believe that we in the 21st Century church MUST seek ways to be relevant in our appointed cultures BUT the message must start with the essence (or Essence) of that message rather than the filter through which it is delivered. (Down south, where I came from, we would say, “Don’t get the cart in front of the horse.”)

In my rant, please ponder this thought, let’s hone the message in our hearts and minds before we hone the presentation.

Let’s not focus so strongly on the delivery and presentation that we cover the message (Message.)

I think for a good, biographical portrait of what I am saying, I recommend reading “Peace Child” by Don Richardson. He had the message, and had to trust God for a presentation that would pierce the culture … but he never compromised that message.

I hope this provides stimuli for your thoughts.


Pray for us as we prepare for and minister to the pastors in Cartagena and Medellin Colombia in the next couple of weeks.

Dr. G