George Barna has a new book coming out, The Revolution, and it has been causing quite a stir from what I can gather in the advanced readings of it. Smart Christian has been blogging about it, and has pointed us to two of the reviewers so far.
Both happen to be “emergent friendly”, but that in no way skews with the data that Barna has presented, but rather instead, probably allows them to enjoy what Barna is presenting.
Andrew Jones does a pretty good break down of Barna’s research, but let me give you a few statistics:
In 2000, roughly 70% of people go to a local congregation as their main avenue of expressing themselves spiritually, and as a means of growth. But by 2025, that number will drop to 30%. Only 30% of people will attend a traditional, local church, while the other 70% attend more homechurch, small group, emergent movements, as Barna states it. By 2025, the majority of Christians will be on a more fringe movement of Christian church, than what we currently experience.
Now I am only reproducing a bit of what others have read. I have no advance copy of this book. I find some of these things very insteresting though. And as Andrew Jones says, we will have to see what the final copy of the book says on these numbers.
Whether you define yourself as traditional, modern, postmodern, emergent, homechurch, seeker, etc….doesn’t seem to matter. What matters is that the Church is needing (and I know many are), to think through new ways of doing church, whether they be slight, or drastic. So while some argue over postmodernity, or emergent, others I think will continue to ask the tough questions, and push the church into the future (Rob Bell for instance), rather than walling up the fort, and hoping to fight off the attack of the impending future.
The Church can be the last place of change, and sometimes that can be good, and other times that can be bad. But I wonder as Christians if we are more concerned with maintaining the status-quo, and our position in the pie, than we are about following Jesus Christ, and asking questions about Church.
Because if Barna’s research ends up being correct, that means a lot of things for us, especially those of us in the ministry, and those of us who are wanting to live out the rest of our lives in traditional church ministry.
What will Church look like in 20 years?
What if how we do Church, no longer exists in 20 years? What will that mean for Church work, vocations, etc?
Do we maintain the status-quo out of an attempt to protect our own jobs, rather than asking questions that may risk them?
So while the Church sits around and debates modernity, postmodernity post-postmodernity (yes this is already out there), people are finding Christianity on their own, because we can’t seem to get our act together, and we appear to rather spend our time criticizing each other, rather than thinking about Church.
If you look down my left column, I have a group that I call postmodern/emergent thinkers. Now I sometimes get some criticisms from others for having those bloggers on my blog. But it seems that those who criticize me on this issue, are those who would rather spend their time searching the blogs for someone to attack, rather than thinking, praying, writing, etc., and attributing to the Church. And these bloggers to the left, they are the ones asking the questions, and attributing to what I think what will be many of the findings that Barna is going to present.
It will be interesting to see how many of those churches that lauded his findings in earlier years, now disagree with new findings, since it will obviously put them on the outs.
PLOP. That was me getting off my soapbox.