Here at the RevCon the first speaker was George Barna.
Here are my notes of his content, unnedited with my take…..>>>>>
Most Americans have always viewed the goal of life as ongoing shared experiences
We work to enjoy comfort and options and control in all facets of our lifee — including church.
Yes, there’s a revolution of faith — but it’s triggered by many other revolutions
[He enumerated several which are mostly obvious to all of us.]
Websters definition of Revolution: the repudiation and thorough replacement of an established system.
Or: A radical and persuasive change in society or social structures, systems, routines, or rules.
There are millions of devout followers of Christ who are repudiating the systems, routines, and rules of the institutional Christian church.
20 million people are involved in this revolution today.
For these “revolutionaries”:
1. God is their top priority
Many claim this, but the question is,
What are you REALLY committted to?
2. They want more of God in their lives, but are willing to do whatever it takes to get that.
3. They want to live their faith, not just understand and talk about it.
4. Their ultimate goal is not selfish, but having more of God in their lives.
In a nutshell, they are God Crazy.
Who are they?
a. Some have tried literally everything else in life — and come back to God via futility.
b. Some were pursuing God, had a profound experience, and couldn’t settle for anything less
c. Some had dormant faith, many churches, groups, activities, programs, and eventually found it meaningless … then came back and found God in more significant way
CRs (Christian Revolutionaries) have:
*No use whatsoever for churches that play political or religious games
*No use for churches that provide entertaining events rather than transformational whole-life experiences
*No use for church stewardship campaigns — which serve their own institutional building needs or salaries or power
*No use for churches that soft-sell sin to expand their institutional turf
*No use for pastors more concerned about their own popularity instead of truth
— who measure success by numbers of people, square footage, number on staff, money raised
*Decided that no longer should the church be expected raise their family spiritually
*Made a decision to not enroll children in spiritual babysitting instead of preparing for spiritual war
*Choose to leave places that promise Christian love but exemplify lifestyles that are indistinguishable from the world system.
The Revolution is about Transformational Christianity.
CRs are NOT rebels, but revolutionaries — an important distinction. CRs major on those elements that matter most to God. In taking a stand, they are simply choosing to honor God — to honor Him, not human institutions.
Church — little c institutional church — is what people made up to control processes.
As humans we’ve made that processs “holy” while losing the sense of what is truly sacred.
So they say, “let’s go back…”
Instead of thinking of worship as an event each week, choose to learn how to engage in worship every day
Learn that work, family, neighborhood contains daily opportunitites provided by God for each of us — to live out our lives as an act of worship
God made us to worship him, not manipulate people into salvation
God called us not so much to preach Jesus but to be Christ to the culture
It is more about caring than competing
More about being vulnerable and real in conversation than being right
CRs are embracing their own personal responsibility for growing — acknowledging that when they appear before God, they won’t be able to say, “but my church let me down…”
CRs do not worry about tithing — money…. they don’t really own anything — everything was given them by God
CRs are portfolio managers for the kingdom of God, so to speak
CRs dont’ think about voluntaring some of their free time for “the Lord’s work”.
Instead, they are sensitive to the opportunities that God gives us every moment of every day
Not merely content to be a “member”…. but a participant in genuine community — even though smaller — they seek to love, care, support, accept … and experience a true sense of community
CRs recognize that it’s not a chruches job to raise up their children. Friends, families, faith can help — but ultimately its our job
The journey of a CR [is unique?] each leads different life.
[Common thread?] a growing sense of dissatisfaction;
… a search for greater authenticity…insight…. leads each one to the foot of the Cross.
They find it,
they get excited,
they go back to their conventional church and explain to their leaders what excitement they’ve found —
and the leaders typically patted them on the back and and said, “get plugged in”
“we are the professionals — fit yourself into our structure” —
But now, being transformed people, they can’t sustain their engagement in that system any longer.
So they extricate themselves — sometimes from anger — which becomes a spiritual issue they must deal with.
But in [working through] their isolation, frustration, irritation, eventually they lead completely different lives.
Now, their moral perspectives are different.
The way they view money is different.
Their belief system is different.
When you look at the many denominations of the institutional church, there are few actual differences [in belief or personal character traits] across denominations.
With CRs, there are significant differences:
During the time of their Investigation and initiating of spiritual transformation, they got involved in something in a more meaningful way.
Often, they tested new forms or structures.
Frequently when they made those connections, they joined spiritual minimovements:
homeschooling, spiritual discussions or study groups, parenting groups, parachurch ministries, prayer groups, networks… Each was a shared affinity anchored around their faith.
It was through that web that they began to be transformed —
Many of those individual connections are morphing into new forms of the church.
In the Bible — “church” is a called out people — who came together to love each other.
New forms, that ignore the non-biblical traditions: cyberchurches, intentional,
3rd place, marketplace ministries, house churches.
These different forms have a different impact on culture.
Reshaping contours — In Year 2000, 65% – 75% have their spiritual main point of contact through conventional church
by 2025 — only 30-35% will rely on conventional church.
Where will the rest be? in the alternatives now springing up: house churches, cyber churches, independent worship, marketplace and parachurch ministries, etc.
People are taking their faith out of sanctuaries and into the world.
The essence is not about changing methodologies — style of music, titles of people who run, methods of teaching or preaching…
that’s not what revolution is about
Nor is it about allowing greater freedom.
It’s not even about allowing emerging generations to develop their own styles, or new leaders, or new places/venues to meet.
The Revolution IS about facilitating transformation through an intimate relationship with God —
a holistic approach — the top priority in life — not about going to church, but about BEING the church — because that’s what we’re called to be.
I don’t really have the authority to do this but… anyway…. I’d like to invite you to be part of this Revolution!
>>> End of George Barna’s morning message notes