That local church attendance will drop amongst those people who call themselves committed Christians by more than 50% in the next 20 years to between 30-35%. That an equal number of committed Christians will find their primary expression and experience of their faith in alternative faith-based communities. And that a further 30-35% will connect to their faith through the media & arts culture. You would probably tell me I’m nuts. But would you say the same thing to George Barna?
Barna’s book Revolution won’t be released until next month but is already generating considerable buzz. Read the first chapter by downloading this pdf file. Check out the Tall Skinny Kiwi and David Robinson’s reviews (Part One, Two & Three). (Read further Tall Skinny Andrew comments here.)
From Tyndale’s book summary:
World-renowned pollster George Barna has the numbers, and they indicate a revolution is already taking place within the Church–one that will impact every believer in America. Committed, born-again Christians are exiting the established church in massive numbers. Why are they leaving? Where are they going? And what does this mean for the future of the Church? Using years’ worth of research data, and adhering to an unwavering biblical perspective, Barna predicts how this revolution will impact the organized church, how Christ’s body of believers should react, and how individuals who are considering leaving (or those who have already left) can respond.
Robinson quotes from the book:
. . . revolutionaries refuse to follow people in ministry 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 legacy than that of Jesus Christ . . .
revolutionaries are embarrassed by language that promises Christian love and holiness but turns out to be all sizzle and no substance . . . they are seeking a faith experience that is more robust and awe-inspiring, a spiritual journey that prioritizes transformation at every turn. . .in America today, the easiest thing to get away with is going with the flow. The ride is smoother and resistance is minimized. But like the wide path that Scripture warns most people will take, it is comfortable route that eventually and inevitably results in disaster . . .
I’ve ordered my copy of the book. Order yours. If you’re in church leadership consider what the future holds. Barna isn’t the only prophetic voice saying these things as Andrew Jones points out. He is, however, a very credible voice who will be ignored at the peril of the established church.