1. Relevance in and of itself is not the goal; faithfulness is.
In his book Bad Religion: How We Became A Nation of Heretics, Ross Douthat convincingly argues that an absolute commitment to relevance is a big part of the decline of mainline denominations. The idea that "we have to get with the times or die" is not a new one. The irony is that many of those churches espousing it are dead or dying, not of irrelevance, but of over-relevance (hey everybody! We like U2 too!). They were so relevant that there was no real difference between the church and world. (By the way, Douthat doesn't just pick on mainline, more liberal churches; he shows how conservative Christians have essentially bought into heresies that work against the gospel).
2. Real faithfulness to the gospel must include missiological sensitivity (a good kind of "relevance") to our particular culture.
3. It might seem like a paradox, but commitment to real faithfulness produces true relevance.
4. The New Testament is filled with great examples of Christians who recognize the context and framework of their audience, and adjust their language accordingly.
5. Misguided attempts to be relevant might still better than entrenched appeals to the status quo.
6. We should not talk about genuine relevance (missiological sensitivity to our culture) with language taken over from consumer capitalism (i.e., "marketing," "branding," etc.)
7. Sometimes the most faithful thing to do is to simply hold steady.
I'd love to hear feedback on what you like/don't like, agree/disagree with on these points. Feel free to comment below. I've heard lots of good feedback via Facebook and personal conversations as well.