Over the weekend I picked up and read a short book by Os Guinness, Prophetic Untimeliness: A Challenge to the Idol of Relevance. His premise: that the Evangelical church in America is well on it's way to utter irrelevancy—pretty much due to its relentless and misguided pursuit of relevancy!
It was, by the way, the same old saw (that unless we become more culturally relevant, the church's next generation will be lost) motivating the earliest liberalization and decline of mainline denominational witness in the 1800's, the early 1900's and again in the 1960's, weakening them near unto death. Evangelicals (of whom he is one) says Guinness, are following the same path to the same end.
Anyway, this recent Touchstone article on relevance in preaching offers incisive corroboration. One of several money quotes:
Well, I thought, what word is the right and relevant word depends on what you think relevant. We have no reason to think that what feels relevant to the worldling is actually relevant to his life. We do have reason to believe that what he feels relevant will be that which diverts him from the painful contemplation of his own sins and helps him move along the trajectory he has plotted for himself—to improve, as he understands it, but not to change.More later.