We need to preserve our message. Christianity has a definite message to communicate (Galatians 1:8,9; John 14:6; Acts 4:12). If we change this message to be relevant, we become irrelevant in the strictest sense of the word. If we have nothing to tell people that is not different from what they have always heard, what is the point of the whole thing? The Christian message is: God has invaded history (John 1:1-18; Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 2:9-18) that He might pay the price for the wrong things we have done (1 Peter 2:24,25; Colossians 2:13,14; 2 Corinthians 5:21), resulting in forgiveness and life forever with Him being offered to those who will rely on Him for it (Ephesians 2:8,9; Romans 4:4,5; Philippians 3:9). It is not a moral system, though it has implications for our moral behavior. Rather, it says our moral behavior is not good enough and we need God's forgiveness (Galatians 2:21; Romans 3:19-31; Titus 3:5,6). It is not a self-help program to show us how to improve our lifestyle, though it has implications for how we live. Rather, it says we will face problems in this life but can trust God to bring us through them (John 16:33; 2 Corinthians 4:17,18; Romans 8:18-25). It is not a mystical experience, though it affects how we regard life. The fact that we know God results in our experiencing life in a new way (Jeremiah 9:23,24; John 1:18; 1 Peter 1:8). Now the Christian message is strange from the world's point of view. If we are not clear, we will be understood as teaching one of these other things.
We need to love people. This is God's command (Matthew 22:36-40; Romans 13:8-10; Galatians 5:13,14). It is not enough here to put on a superficial veneer of relevance. We need to genuinely reach out to people where they are and meet their needs (James 1:27; 1 John 3:17; Galatians 6:9.10). Now part of loving people is communicating to them where they are at in a way they can understand (Colossians 4:6; 1 Peter 3:15; 2 Timothy 2:24-26). Genuine love does not necessarily mean telling people what they want to hear, but what they need to hear. But we must do it in such a way that they comprehend it and are not driven away by our manner of approach. But we also need to be completely honest and not sell people a bill of goods (1 Thessalonians 2:3-5; 2 Corinthians 2:17; 1 Peter 3:10). We accomplish nothing if we do not convince people to have a genuine faith in what we have to say. Therefore, if by relevance we mean reaching out to people where they are at, with the genuine message, in order that they may understand and receive that message, it is a good thing. But if it means manipulating people into becoming superficial converts, it is wrong.