No Church? No Problem

I just ran across No Church? No Problem on Christianity Today Magazine. Kevin Miller reviews George Barna’s new book, REVOLUTION: Finding Vibrant Faith Beyond the Walls of the Sanctuary.

Unlike the Great Awakenings, which brought people into the church, this new movement “entails drawing people away from reliance upon a local church into a deeper connection with and reliance upon God.” Already “millions of believers have stopped going to church,” so Barna expects that in 20 years “only about one-third of the population will rely upon a local congregation as the primary or exclusive means for experiencing and expressing their faith.” Down will go the number of churches, donations to churches, and the cultural influence of churches.

1. Is it necessary for the local church to have walls?
2. What do we lose by not having a building?
3. How can the established church minister to the two thirds of the population who will probably never ‘join’ a congregation?

  • 1. Is it necessary for the local church to have walls?

    “Necessary”? Of course not. But they are kinda nice; walls keep out wind. (I also like roofs ’cause they keep out rain/snow!)

    2. What do we lose by not having a building?

    Compare:
    Church of the Holy Shoe vs. Church of the Holy Sneaker. St. Shoe’s has a building; St. Sneaker’s folk meet as a house church of what Miller calls ‘freelance Christians’.
    (I love that phrase!!!)

    Everyone knows when and where St. Shoe holds services because there is a sign out front that says, “Sunday Services – 9:30.” AND even if they don’t come to services, lottsa people use the building (An AA group meets at St. Shoe’s; The community band rehearses there; On election day, St. Shoe’s is the community polling place.

    No one knows when/where the fine folk of St. Sneaker’s hold services (heck, except for a dozen people, no one evey knows that St. Sneaker’s exists). St. Sneaker’s is more of a speakeasy – you have to know someone who’s already “in” if you want to go.

    3. How can the established church minister to the two thirds of the population who will probably never ‘join’ a congregation?

    Please define what you mean “established church” and “minister to.”

    Is St. Shoe’s “ministry” of building rental any less worthy than whatever St. Sneaker’s does? How do you measure the effectiveness?
    Is being visible (and avaliable on Christmas/Easter when those 2/3s might show up) important?

    Don’t you hate it when people anwer questions with questions?!

    * * * * *
    IMHO, Miller wrote a Quack Article that doesn’t even try to understand the issue. (It is particularly obvious in the sentence where he talks about people replacing the “collective wisdom” of the church with “private judgement”.
    (I would suggest he flip it around and play with the idea of “Personal Wisdom” and “Collective Judgement”).

  • zane anderson

    Barna’s “Revolution” will be discussed this Friday night (2-3-06) on the nationwide Moody Broadcasting Network. “Open Line” is a call-in show which is aired at 8-8:55 pm CT. The phone number to participate is 312-329-4460.

    What Barna is setting forth in this book has obviously been subject to a wide variety of opinion and speculation. He was personally invited to clarify the issues. It should be an informative exchange.

    For station and time of broadcast information see http://openlineradio.org. The programs are archived for download/podcast if you’re unable to tune in.