It's Supernatural

With your host Sid Roth

Our Guest George Barna

without comments

Sid: I’ve got George Barna on the telephone and I’m speaking to him from his research center in Ventura, California.  And those that are not familiar with George Barna he has come up with research that is predicting what will happen in the future in Christianity as well as in the secular arenas. The thing is his research it proves to be true.  Now in your book “Revolution” you quote in less than 20 years by the year 2025 only about 30% of Christians will be expressing their faith in a local church; that’s quite a trend. What’s accounting for that?

George: That’s I think and that’s an absolutely startling reality that we’re already seeing come to pass and it’s not that people are saying “Well, I’m just going to distance myself from faith all together.”  What we’re finding is that they’re shifting the place through which they’re experiencing and expressing their faith.

Sid: So you mean they’re switching from one church to another church.

George: Not so much from one church to another but from one approach to being the Body of Christ to a different approach. Let me explain we know for instance we know right now in our country if we were to study as we have through our research how people experience and express their faith somewhere in about the order of two thirds of the entire population has their primary means of spiritual experience and expressions through a local congregational formatted church.  You’ve got maybe 5 to 10% who have that experience and expression through an alternative form of church whether that’s a house church, or a market place ministry, or a cyber-church you’ve got maybe 5% or so a little bit less we estimate who have their family as their primary place where spiritual growth and development and expression takes place.  You’ve got another 20 to 25% of the population that use different elements coming out of our culture whether it’s the media or the arts as their primary way of experiencing the expressing their faith.  Now if we jump ahead 20 years and remember we said “Right now we’ve got about 2/3’s of population that rely upon a local church as we typically think of it, that’s going to be cut in half in the next 20 years or so.” Why? Because people are saying “You know what it’s not meeting my needs, it’s not allowing me to meet other peoples’ needs it’s really holding me back from allowing me to be the person who God placed me here on earth to be.  And so they’re finding different ways of experiencing the presence of God, of interacting with the living God of expressing their faith to God and to His people.  Of serving needy people throughout the country and certainly their community and so a large portion of that 1/3 that right now is in churches that will be dropping out that is going to be shifting to these alternative forms of church.  Again whether that’s house churches, market place ministries, cyber-churches, independent worship events; all kinds of things taking place.  And at the same time with all the new technologies being born we’re having many more people also relying upon the new media to give them the opportunity not only to absorb information but to connect with other people and to be challenged in their relationship with God.  One of the saddest things I’ve said that we’ve seen is that there doesn’t seem to be much of a shift in terms of how many people are treating their family as a place of faith, really the central place of faith.  Of course you go back into the Old Testament and what you find is God says “That’s where it’s supposed to start, that’s the catalyst for all of this.”  And yet we don’t see any growth taking place in that arena.

 Sid: It’s almost amazing it’s sort of like the parents ship the children off to be trained in God to the church rather than assuming their responsibility.

George: We’ve done a lot of research related to how ministry among children happens.  What we discovered is that most parents do not feel that they know how to raise a young person to be a spiritual champion. So what they do is they look for experts whom they can pass their children off on.  And so the local church becomes their first step because they say “Well, you know here’s a place that says ‘That’s their arena of expertise’ and so if we simply take the kids there and enroll them in some classes and programs that will take care of it; my job is not so much to teach them as a parent what it means to be a devout follower of Christ.  My job is to bring them to a place who will do that for me.” Of course that is about unscriptural as you can get.

Sid: Is the home school movement changing some of that?

George: To some extent in fact as we did the research of this book “Revolution” we were identifying revolutionaries around the country.  One of the things that emerged is that so often when somebody’s life is radically transformed by God it doesn’t happen in a local church but it happens in affinity group that their a part of.  And one of those kinds of affinity groups that we’ve identified are people who are homeschooling because it’s kind of unusual for a homeschooler to be isolated.  Usually home-school families are connected with other home-school families in the community and their share a lot of dynamic experiences together.

Sid: Now tell me just out of curiosity do you have any idea of this new breed that you have labeled revolutionaries, are they a threat when they’re in a local church?  Does a pastor want this person in his church or does the pastor is he threatened?

George: Well, there is a pattern actually that we discovered that usually happens and it tends to be triggered by some kind of a transformation that happens in the individual’s life.  That person then goes back to the leaders in the church and says “Check this out look at what God has done in my life, we’ve got to figure out a way to allow this to happen with everybody here.”  And typically, not in every case, but typically the leaders of the church say “Well, you know we’re really happy for you, but you got to understand we know what we’re doing we’ve got a plan, we’ve got a budget, we’ve got buildings, we’ve got programs, we’ve got staff, we’ve got all kinds of stuff already in place.  So rather than you coming to us and saying “Hey, let’s change what we’re doing to facilitate God doing with others what He did with you, why don’t you just look at what we’re already offering and figure out how to get plugged in.”  And so what happens is that individual then who’s gone through this transformation becomes frustrated because it’s almost like we’re disinviting the Holy Spirit from doing His work among God’s people.  And so then the process is they tend to hang around in the church a little while longer they tend to get frustrated; they leave, they tend to be isolated for a while they realize that doesn’t work, and then they start branching out into new and different types of personal relationships with other revolutionaries and other ministries that enable them to really begin to blossom as a follower of Christ.

Sid: Now this is amazing you state in your book also by the year 2025, less than 20 years from now, 70% of Christians will be part of the revolutionaries who want to experience God, but not in a religious sense.

George: We’re finding that a lot of people are looking for authenticity with their faith, their tired of programmatic activities. Wherever they can find a living God that’s what they want.  If they can find them in a local church that’s great you know this not about “Hey let’s close down churches.”  If local churches can bring people to the foot of the cross and really help them to be the church man you couldn’t ask for more than that.

Sid: But it’s so difficult to do what you’ve saying from the pastor’s viewpoint they’re only so many slots open in a spectator sport called “Christianity” today.

George: Well, you know certainly I think you’ve kind of hit on one of the key issue which is Christianity was never meant to be a spectator sport.  Jesus never asked people to come and watch him do ministry, the thing that He constantly said to them is “Come follow me.”  And when they followed Him He incorporated them into the activities that He was doing whether it was prayer or healing or whatever it maybe.  And that’s what we…

Sid: But how do you do that with 10,000 people in your church?

George: Maybe you can’t have a church of 10,000 maybe that shouldn’t be our goal. You got to remember Jesus never died on the cross to fill church auditoriums He died on the cross for people’s lives to be radically transformed so that they would be more like Him.  They would have His mind, they would have His commitment, they would have indeed His power through the Holy Spirit working within them and through them.  And sometimes maybe that gets lost if what happens in a large church is we have performance as opposed to true ministry. Not all large churches have that issue, but some do.

Sid: Okay in a few sentences describe to me what is the revolutionary mindset?

George: Well, really it’s one where you are rethinking what the world is all about. You realize that you’ve got to have a different world view; a different set of eyes through which you see how things work. And the way to recalibrate your mind and your heart is to go back and study the scriptures and pray and listen to the Lord leading you in terms of how does all this work?  What is Your role, why did I place you here.  How do you fit in, what is your the unique thing that you bring to the Kingdom of God as we see it played out here on earth.

Sid: You wrote this book called “Revolution” in your heart of hearts who do you want to see get this book and what will it do for them.

George: Well, there really are two different groups of people of that will benefit greatly from it.  One certainly are revolutionaries; that’s who I wrote it primarily to.  Because I want them to be encouraged, I want them to be informed, I want them to feel supported, and we’re trying to surround this book with different other activities that we’re doing to help connect revolutionaries together. Because Christianity is not an isolation experience it’s the connectivity experience. But secondly, I also want leaders within the existing institutional churches to understand the fact that you know what, it’s not about programs and events and performance it really is about helping each and individual find themselves             in Christ.  And releasing them to be all that they need to be that’s all these revolutionaries want is to be the greatest Christian they can possibly be blessing others and God every moment of every day.  And so for an individual who has been raised perhaps with Bible college or seminary, and they’ve been taught all the standard practices, for them to understand you know what a lot of that stuff really has nothing to do with what Jesus came to earth for.

Sid: The biggest hottest thing in Christianity across America today is what’s called “Seeker Sensitive” it seems to me these revolutionaries it wouldn’t satisfy them.

George:  Yeah you know that’s a whole different issue because of course the seeker sensitivity movement is really geared toward reaching people who are outside the boundaries of the institutional church at the moment. What we find is revolutionaries have a whole different approach to these individuals that might be called seekers and that’s not so much to bring them to a place so they experience an event, but it’s to engage them in an ongoing and ever deepening dialogue about what is mean…

Sid: Lets pick up here on tomorrow’s broadcast…

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August 2nd, 2013 at 4:32 pm

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