Subversive Influence noted in Barna Makes a Major Ministry Change that George Barna, of reputable statistics, demographics, and trends among evangelical “born again” Christians, had gotten tired of sharing information and seeing that many church leaders were unable to translate that into action and impact. Barna’s own word can be found at New Direction, dated April 2005.
More recently, Jason Clark and Tallskinnykiwi have already commented on George Barna’s new book titled Revolution via advance pre-publication manuscript. Things are changing in the institutional church, and not only in terms of minimally impacting statistics and trends.
But what he says could indeed be considered revolutionary, it certainly is a change of strategy for him, and it will be for many ministers and leaders who read the book. Especially the part about followers of Jesus who progress spiritually WITHOUT going to a local congregation – a group of people that will grow from 30% to around 70% in the next 20 years, making the FRINGE Christians the MAJORITY, and giving churches a good reason to rethink the next building program, and Seminaries to rethink their aggressive recruiting strategies. … Well, actually, those repercussions are mine, not Barna’s. But his book informed them. And Barna does a good job in softening the blow to the traditional church with gentleness and honor, while at the same time giving a case for the necessity of other forms (housechurch/ simplechurch, cyberchurch, family-faith, emergent, postmodern, mini-movements, etc).
All this to say, that it puts me in a precarious position. I love information and concepts. Doing the strategic stuff is good for me too. (yes, my top 3 StrengthsFinder themes are input, ideation, and strategic.) I don’t do as well with operationalizing or implementing. I don’t care much about answers or impact. Now, to see Barna change directions is commendable, I’m all about change and innovation. The more the better. But to see that information and data doesn’t speak for itself, and doesn’t create change, somehow bursts my enthusiasm for data. Just a little bit.