Q from former youth pastor — What about the scriptures that say that the body has pastors, elders, leaders, etc. How do we reconcile those with the Revolution which seems to be abandoing those kinds of forms?
[Kindig: my notes are sketchy here someone, either George or the questioner, talks about how a Wolfgang Simpson book, Houses that changed the world, changed his life. I think it was George who said this, and mentioned the 15 theses of the book, which you can read here:
Barna’s A: Submitting to elders — God has called people to play different roles — even in small relational groups, some emerge as leaders — it’s normative in small groups to have an individiual who leads.
This does not need to be heavy handed — but there is a gift of leadership — and the group must learn to recognize that.
Q — How do you find these people? How do you do your research?
Barna’s A: We get random samples — used to be, we worked in and got some of our samples in churches. Now, not much work in churches. Mostly we look at the culture at large — ask batteries of questions not just straight up questions about what they claim to believe and do, but look at all their beliefs and lifestyle decisions, and from their statements of belief sort by whether they are nominals , atheists, other faith groups, evangelicals, etc.
Typical samples are considered large in this kind of work — at least 1000 from acrosss the country. We have done special samplings of groups as large as 22,000.
Recently we’ve done a lot of research on what other forms of church have emerged — house, marketplace, ministries, cyberchurches, intentional — we’ve found them to be organic, growing slowly and spreading.
Q — What do you do if you’re a pastor but you feel like a revolutionary?
Barna’s A: The starting point is understanding what it is we’re trying to facilitate — look at issue of ongoing transformations — becoming more Christlike. This has nothing to do with activities,
more to do with relationships, personal passion, growth.
The pastor must think outside the “box” — the church building — and look at what takes place outside of the institutional church — the relational communities — and ask, “How can I facilitate these communities?”
[It’s very hard to break out of the standard ] “set in cement” ideas: show up, put money in plate, hire staff, be more efficient, create new programs, etc. — none of which Jesus died on the cross for.
Paradoxically, one of the elements that facilitates the Revolution…. is inefficiency!
Being out of control helps somehow to create opportunities for transformation to take place.