In his book, In the Name of Jesus, Reflections on Christian Leadership, Henri J.M. Nouwen states,
" I am deeply convinced that the Christian leader of the future is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her own vulnerable self. The great message that we have to carry, as ministers of God's Word and followers of Jesus, is that God loves us not because of what we do or accomplish, but because God has created and redeemed us in love and has chosen us to proclaim that love as the true source of all human life."
He goes on to point out that even Jesus' first temptation was to be relevant: to turn stones into bread. Yet, he he saw that trap for what it was and pointed out that even more important than filling our stomachs with food is the filling of our spirit with God's word. More important than trying to make a difference in someone's life is showing them how God can transform their lives.
To live a life that is not dominated by the desire to be relevant, Nouwen suggests the discipline of contemplative prayer, which will keep our identities deeply rooted in God's love, rather than our own accomplishments or relevance. After all, is there anything more humbling than being in the presence of God?