Some months ago I wrote a few short comments on a Barna article that Matty sent me. It is found here.
But while researching for an assignment I remembered that I had asked for Barna’s new Book Revolution for Christmas, there were a few quotes in it that I could have used for my paper, so while Christine was out I fossicked throught the Christmas goodies to find my gift!
When I went to do my bibliography today, the book was gone, no doubt wrapped up, or she is on to me and hidden it! So I had to go to Amazon to find the publishing details. While on Amazon I found an amzing review and story on the Revolution Barna has been through – Read on –
…a drastic change occurred in George Barna’s life (about 2003) as a result of his countless hours of researching the effects of organized religion; he realized that very little actual life transformation appeared to be occurring in churched believers all over the country. Even worse, he realized that his own efforts in research were being used by pastors mostly for the purpose of seeking statistical evidence to support their teaching. To his surprise, however, the same research Barna had been conducting over the years led him to a discovery of the fact that God was moving in mighty ways OUTSIDE the four walls of the Institutional Church! In fact, Barna was so impacted by what he observed in the lives of “churchless” Christians all over the U.S. that it convinced him to give up what he had done for 20 years and refocus his attentions. He changed the name of his organization from the Barna Research Group to simply the Barna Group, downsized his organization from 100 employees to eight, moved out of their large office space into a compact area, sought to become more partnership based, and chose to raise the level of risk they were willing to take in new ventures, determining that it would be better to go broke in the pursuit of true life transformation than to remain financially safe but without any gain for the kingdom.
All of that to say that George Barna no longer has interest to merely help grow the Institutional Church. His new passion is solely to see God’s true Church, who are His very people (His body), walk into the fullness of what God intends for them without obstacles, without distractions, without religious strings attached – and to see them live life to the fullest in Christ and minister truth to a lost and dying world who desperately need Him. George was humbled to find that this is already happening without the aid of churches and formal religious organizations or “official” leadership. In fact, one of the most impacting things he notes in his new book is that so many of these groups of believers who serve the Lord outside the Institutional Church System, even though they often have poor organization, lack of great numbers, meager financial resources, often weak human leadership and are sometimes ridiculed and despised by those in larger church organizations, yet they are often more effective (in terms of actual life transformation, relationship building, devotion to truth, and sincere Christian devotion); proving that it is GOD – not man – that is leading these believers. Barna now calls these Christians who no longer center their lives around religious organizations (i.e. churches) “Revolutionaries” and believes they (all 20 million of them and growing) are the real future of the manifested body of Christ on earth; in other words they represent those who have moved beyond the established church and chosen to BE the Church instead. Barna also humbly and joyously admits that he is now one of them as well.
There is much more here