In purely carnal terms, Carey may be right but in eternal matters he could not be more off. Did Jesus seek relevance first to those who would hear Him or did He say repent! The Gospel does not need man's permission to speak into their hearts. As the bible teaches us some plant and some water but God alone gives the increase. Nieuwhof's fatal purpose driven error is that the Gospel is not something that can be marketed. It is not a product. If your target audience was soda drinkers and you are speaking to them about the effects of climate change then my guess is your message will not get through. THAT is where relevance is important. The target audience of the Gospel however is the depraved and sinful heart of man and more often than not, the heart will reject it. We preach it however to plant a seed or water one that has already been planted hoping that one day God will grant the increase and that person will finally be ready to step out of their irrelevant and temporal life into the eternal promised by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Nieuwhof seems to believe it is his role to convince the lost to become saved. He seeks God's job but it is filled already. Beloved, people may very well ignore you but they cannot ignore God. They will either answer in this life or the next but they will answer.
"Before you push back, just because the Gospel is always relevant doesn't mean you are. Even growing organizations can lose relevance. Your past success doesn't guarantee your future success. In fact, as we've discussed here more than a few times, the great enemy of your future success is your current success because your success makes you conservative. When you had nothing to lose, change was easy. Now that you have something to lose, change is that much harder. So whether your organization or cause has a bit of momentum left or whether it's losing steam, here are 6 ways to tell your influence as a leader is waning." -- Carey Nieuwhof
Here we see another fatal flaw in purpose driven theology. The Gospel has nothing to do with me or my level of relevance. The purpose driven model has created these deified pastors who have to show their tattoos or get a faux-hawk to go with their skinny jeans just to feel connected on some level. The Gospel however is the only thing that matters and Paul teaches us that it simply needs to be preached. Not with words of eloquent wisdom lest the power of the cross be emptied! Think about what Paul is saying there! The power of the cross is the salvation of man but when the speaker makes it about them -- they empty the cross of that power. If people are looking to the pastor -- no gets saved. The power is in the cross and the Gospel of the cross.
"1. You've become a critic of anything that's growing. Irrelevant leaders are always looking for ways to dismiss other peoples' success. Maybe there was a day when you were the young startup when your launch was the one everyone was looking at. Now, everyone's looking at what's emerging and saying how awesome it is, but all you can see are the flaws. You convince yourself they've sold out, or it won't last, or that they're just trend-jacking, or that "of course it's working because that's what the next generation wants, but it's not right." You've invented 1000 justifications about why you're right and all the things that are more 'successful' than you are wrong. Irrelevance, after all, has it all figured out, and even though it may not be working particularly well, you've convinced yourself (and are trying to convince others) that your way is the best way. Here's the bottom line: critics rarely contribute, and contributors rarely criticize. If you've landed in the camp of the constant critic, the odds of you actually contributing much to the present or future are very low. As a result, you've already become irrelevant." -- Carey Nieuwhof