The Church of 2011?

The Barna Group put out a recent study that list 6 major themes concerning the Church and the future.  The two big questions I have about this study are these:

  1. Is this the Church of 2011?
  2. What are we doing to change this image?

Here are the themes Barna highlighted in the article:

  • The Christian Church is becoming less theologically literate.
  • Christians are becoming more ingrown and less outreach-oriented.
  • Growing numbers of people are less interested in spiritual principles and more desirous of learning pragmatic solutions for life.
  • Among Christians, interest in participating in community action is escalating.
  • The postmodern insistence on tolerance is winning over the Christian Church.
  • The influence of Christianity on culture and individual lives is largely invisible.

Again, is this the Church of 2011?  If it is, I’m checking out.  If it’s not, then what are we doing to change our image?  How is next year going to be different from this year?

Read the full article here.

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2 responses to “The Church of 2011?

  1. I hate to be all doomsday-like, but I don’t think there is a fixing it. I would almost say the church as it is needs to go away and start with something else. Barna said this stuff over 10 years ago in his book, The Second Coming of the Church (1998), and things have only gotten worse.

    • I can see where you’re coming from, and I agree that things are seemingly grave-looking in regards to the present day Church. However, I don’t think starting-over-from-scratch is the answer. Here are some thoughts:

      -> Do we still believe that Christ is the Head of the Church? And if so, do we believe that His power is greater than our own? If we do, then surrendering our power for His needs to start happening in every small to large church world-wide. Our efforts are not going to change anything. It is only by His power that change will come.

      -> In seeking His power, are we willing to let go of our traditions? Our abilities? Our pride? Are we willing to be changed FIRST, so that God can use us to bring about change through the rest of the Church?

      -> In letting go of everything, I truly believe that most of the major problems within the Church (if not all of them) stem back to the days when we first allowed the Church to be defined by Denominations, rather than being “One Body in Christ”. Let’s face it, we’ve taken the Church and made it to look like us, rather than Christ. We have taken His body, split it up, and pinned His name on.

      -> In making Church about us, we have forgotten our First Love. In forgetting our First Love, we have forgotten from Whom the power and authority comes from. Which takes me back to my first thought: do we still believe that Christ is the Head of the Church? And if He is, then we – the entire Church – must submit ourselves to Him, His ways, His “theology”, His power, His strength, His love … etc, and let go of our own baggage – and not just drop it but allow it to be burned up.

      In my opinion, it’s not so much about starting over but rather starting from within: allowing Christ to refine His bride/body into what He first called us to be. The Church is an unstoppable force – the gates of hell, Christ said, will not stop us. The problem is, we’ve forgotten whose Church it is. We’ve forgotten our First Love. We’ve fixed our eyes on ourselves for far too long, that we’ve forgotten what the Power and Presence of Christ looks like.

      Yes, things have gotten worse, but the day isn’t over yet.

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