More Bible, Less Church, says Barna

pgtipsGood morning everyone! I woke up and 3am and couldnt get back to sleep so here i am, drinking tea and making a bright and early start to the day . . feels good and PG Tips tea is one of the perks of living in England.
I found on Marc’s Messages some new research from George Barna, (who i met in the 1980’s in Oregon – very nice chap).
“One interesting facet related to the behaviors growing in popularity, according to Barna, was their non-church nature. “Notice that the growth activities – Bible reading, prayer, small groups – are those that do not take place at a church. The church-oriented endeavors – attending services, volunteering in church programs, Sunday school participation – showed no movement. This may be an early warning sign that we are entering a new era of spiritual experience – one that is more tribal or individualized than congregational in nature.”
From Barna Reseach.

Andrew

Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name "Precious" :-)

9 Comments

  • We are entering a new era of spiritual experience. I agree with you wholeheartedly. I feel a stirring in my spirit that GOD wants to create communities of believers. Where we can worship Him, where we can pray together, where we can help each other, where we can annoint and appoint each other for various tasks or assignments. RIGHT ON ANDREW!

  • a title you may want to check out is “More Jesus, Less Religion” by Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton. it’s their follow-up book to “Toxic Faith,” which details how toxic church-ministry-systems get that way, and what to do about it. “More Jesus, Less Religion” does the reverse and talks about principles for healthy gathering together.

  • Fascinating! It’s interesting hearing that kind of language (e.g. “tribal”) coming from a guy like Barna. I’ve always thought he was fairly onto it. His rep has gone up a few more notches in my book. Although I would’ve preferred to hear him say “decentralized” rather than “individualized” 😉 (Just call me the buzz word police)

  • Interesting… Does this speak more to the dysfunctional nature of many (most?) current congregations, though? In other words: “congregations” tending to be more maintenance-minded, self-perpetuating institutions than being missional communities of faith formation, worship, care, servanthood, etc.? In other words, the “tribes” (great “buzzword,” as noted above) are ahead of the “institutions” in calling/ desiring congregations to be what God wants them to be. Is it “communal” vs. “institutional” more than “individual” vs. “congregational?”
    Peace.

  • Interesting… Does this speak more to the dysfunctional (sin-broken) nature of many (most?) current congregations, though? In other words: “congregations” tending to be more maintenance-minded, self-perpetuating institutions than being missional communities of faith formation, worship, care, servanthood, etc.? In other words, the “tribes” (great “buzzword,” as noted above) are ahead of the “institutions” in calling/ desiring congregations to be what God wants them to be.
    Is it more “communal” vs. “institutional” than “individual” vs. “congregational?” And then, how to “communities” fit together? How to “congregations as communities” live out the reality that Church is more than the local gathering?
    Peace.

  • This would echo Jason Clark’s thought that, “So much of the emerging church is not what un-churched/pre christians want, but is formed around what burned out christians don’t want to do any more.”

  • The challenge is to keep us all on the same page as we pursue more individually focused efforts. Tribalism has bad connotations in sociology, because it means tribes are forming and fighting each other. I think the personalization can be a good thing, to a point; it just has to be kept from becoming a “whatever I want, all the time” mentality. (NB: Andrew was quoting Barna, and it’s anoint with one n =).

  • Just reading your comments – it sounds like many of you have made it out of the early “postmodernist” stage – congratulations! Lets all work towards continuity and reconciliation and community!!!

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