Unfortunately not in my library (yet), but the blogosphere has news and reviews of a couple of new reads.

Revolution George Barna’s latest is Revolution, and advance copies are out — reviews and discussion by Andrew Jones and also by by Jason Clark. Andrew writes,

…it certainly is a change of strategy for him, and it will be for many ministers and leaders who read the book. Especially the part about followers of Jesus who progress spiritually WITHOUT going to a local congregation – a group of people that will grow from 30% to around 70% in the next 20 years, making the FRINGE Christians the MAJORITY, and giving churches a good reason to rethink the next building program, and Seminaries to rethink their aggressive recruiting strategies.
Well, actually, those repercussions are mine, not Barna’s. But his book informed them. And Barna does a good job in softening the blow to the traditional church with gentleness and honor, while at the same time giving a case for the necessity of other forms (housechurch/simplechurch, cyberchurch, family-faith, emergent, postmodern, mini-movements, etc).
…The revolution George speaks of involves a radical shift from the local church being the primary spiritual caretaker of believers in USA to other emerging forms of church having equal allegiance.

Following this, he provides a few comments, a couple of points where he dissents, and then an excellent list of related reading which is worth the price of the post.

Jason Clark writes,

Barna sets the scene in the preface by referencing his 1990 book, Frog in the Kettle, claiming that 90% of the trends he predicted came true and were of help to the church, and this new book, contains new and developing trend, one trend alone, that of ‘an unprecedented reengineering of America’s faith dimension’ that is beyond everyone’s experience to date.
He claims there is a revolution going on in he church universal, outside the organised congregation based church, that we are all going to have to respond to. Of his own admission the book is short, a ‘fast’ read and not ‘theologically dense’. He also expects people to be either ‘excited’ or ‘angered’ by his suggestions and research.
Barna states that mostly outside organised church (but acknowledges that a few may be doing it from within organised church), a revolution is going on of new and multiple forms and expression of the church universal, at a macro and micro level, characterised by 7 passions. These passions are namely, Intimate Worship, Faith Based Conversations, Intentional Spiritual Growth, Servant Hood, Resource Investment, Spiritual Friendship and Family Faith. Barna talks about why from his research these things are lacking in the American organised church, and why he believes they are emerging in new forms of church, that will be the future of the church.

He follows up with nine observations about Barna’s book; worth a look.

A Churchless Faith All of this is a good lead-in to another book, Alan Jamieson’s A Churchless Faith, which is discussed by co-blogger Paul Fromont and reviewed by Craig Bird, who begins with,

The post-congregationals have left the building.
Not just any building. Our church buildings. That means no Sunday school and donuts at 9 a.m. or worship at 11. No more “You preach, I’ll listen.”
On their way out, they were overheard to say: “Why won’t someone at least listen to the tough questions?” “If Christianity is about community, why am I so bruised and battered?”
Some of the leavers toss out the Christian God along with their spiritual past.
But others say they are leaving in order to rescue their faith. Many say they struggle to find a way to worship in honesty, to forgive “church abuse,” to grow in Christ-likeness or to reach an equilibrium in their spiritual life.
…What Jamieson has found in his studies has surprised him. In researching his book,
A Churchless Faith, he interviewed 108 leavers. Most were not marginal churchgoers who finally quit but organizational linchpins. Ninety-four percent had been church leaders — deacons, home-group leaders, elders, Sunday school teachers — and 32 percent had been in full-time ministry.

Bird’s discussion is worth working through as well… but there’s a lot of comment on the church-leavers and a lot of people seeking to interpret what seems to be an official trend now. Of course, this is just an update to a subject we’ve been discussing for some time now.

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