Tuesday, November 08, 2005
THE REVOLUTION (Barna Extract)
REVOLUTION - An Extract.
From George Barna's pre-manuscript of a forthcoming book.
As we journey together, I want to show you what our research has uncovered regarding a growing sub-nation of people, already well over 20 million strong, who are what we call Revolutionaries.
What "established systems" are they seeking to "overthrow or repudiate" and "thoroughly replace," in Webster's words?
They have no use for churches that play religious games, whether those games are worship services that drone on without the presence of God or ministry programs that bear no spiritual fruit.
Revolutionaries eschew ministries that compromise or soft sell our sinful nature to expand organizational turf. They refuse to follow people in ministry in leadership positions who cast a personal vision rather than God's, or who seek popularity rather than the proclamation of truth in their public statements, or who are more concerned about their own legacy than that of Jesus Christ.
They refuse to donate one more dollar to man-made monuments that mark their own achievements and guarantee their place in history.
They are unimpressed by accredited degrees and endowed chairs in Christian colleges and seminaries that produce young people incapable of defending the Bible or unwilling to devote their life to serving others.
And Revolutionaries are embarrassed by language that promises Christian love and holiness but turns out to be all sizzle and no substance.
In fact, many Revolutionaries have been active in good churches that have biblical preaching, people coming to Christ and being baptized, a full roster of interesting classes and programs, and a congregation packed with nice people. There is nothing overtly wrong with anything taking place at such churches. But Revolutionaries innately realize that it is just not enough to go with the flow.
The experience provided through their church, although better than average, still seems flat. They are seeking a faith experience that is more robust and awe-inspiring, a spiritual journey that prioritizes transformation at every turn,
something worthy of the Creator whom their faith reflects...
Revolutionaries zealously pursue an intimate relationship with God, which Jesus Christ promised we could have through Him...
In this book I will describe what The Barna Group has learned about this under-the-radar but seminal renaissance of faith that will remake the religious contours of this country over the coming quarter-century.
[Barna goes on to predict the complete re-shaping of the way people experience "church" in America]:
Whereas "Christian community" has generally been limited to the relationships facilitated within a congregation, the Revolution is bursting open the walls of the worldwide Church to birth a truly
international network of relationships...
The U.S. will see a reduction in the number of churches, as presently configured (i.e. congregational-formatted ministries).
Church service attendance will drop... Donations to churches will drop... Churches' already limited political and cultural influence will diminish even further at the same time that Christians will exert greater influence through more disparate mechanisms.
Fewer church programs will be sustained in favor of more communal experiences among Christians...
To some, this will sound like the Great Fall of the Church. To Revolutionaries, it will be the Great Reawakening of the Church.
New scenarios do not mean mayhem and dissipation. In this case, they represent a new day in which the Church can truly be the Church--different than what we know today, but more responsive to and reflective of God.
* The number of Christians attending local church in the USA is declining
rapidly. Today, 70% of Christians attend traditional churches, but this
will sink to 30-35% in 20 years;
* The number of followers of Jesus who do not attend a local church will
grow from 30% to 70% in the next 20 years;
* Alternative fellowship forms (house church/simple church, post-modern
churches etc.), currently home for 5% of USA Christians, will grow to
make up 30-35%; another 30-35% will live out their faith in the fields
of media, arts and culture; the remaining 5% of Christians attending
non-traditional forms of church will have a family-based spiritual life;
* Conclusion: a minority group presently not even noticed by many will
become the mainstream of North American Christianity in only two
"This is a revolution, and will change not only the recruiting strategies of seminaries and Bible schools, but also radically question church building projects," says Barna. If only half as many people will be visiting traditional congregational services in 20 years, a smaller building will suffice.
Source: George Barna "Revolution" www.barna.org