From a post by Jason Evans:
For 20 years, in book after book, Barna has been delivering this information to the American church…. He has now concluded that, in spite of his best efforts, no one was really listening and he has now changed his strategy. Rather than being solely focused on research, he is now committed to actively supporting new forms of church that have the potential for actually seeing lives transformed.
The new books that Barna and others are writing ‘will reveal what is happening in the emerging Church â€“ not the postmodern, candles/coffee/couches types of anti-modern ministries, but the Revolutionary ministry that is percolating to the surface of American society through new forms of ministry such as the cyberchurch, house churches, marketplace ministries, and tribal faith experiences.’
Mr. Stats-Man is looking at 1 Million people leaving church every year, and may perhaps find it somewhat disheartening that most of the people he’s reporting the trends to don’t seem that alarmed at a statistic like that… and he’s adamant about doing something that mattered. As he puts it,
To make a long story brief, I hit a point of crisis at the end of 2003. I did not want to stop ministering to the Church; I simply wanted to do something that mattered. Giving information to people whose sole interest seemed to be searching for facts that confirmed what they had already chosen to do, or seeking statistical evidence to support their teaching, was not something that seemed like good stewardship. My passion was to work with ministries to facilitate genuine life transformation. Frustrated, upon the completion of our 2003 seminar tour, I told the Lord I could not continue doing what we had been doing for the past 20 years.
I think I know how Barna feels…. like a lot of Old Testament prophets must have felt. The church I used to attend did a good job of not listening when I’d tell them something, and then two or three years later, it’d sound so hollow that I normally didn’t bother saying “I told you so” unless they asked me about it specifically. So Mr. Barna, you told us so.