Thursday, September 08, 2005

REVOLUTION in the Church

Friday Fax 2005/35

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Good news for church builders: you only need half the budget!
The financial challenges facing traditional Christian churches are often linked to building projects. Many undergo great tensions when considering the massive investments required, which are a burden for the members for many years. But many church building projects are not even necessary, according to a recent study in the USA. "Revolution", George Barna's new book, will be published in September. Barna leads a church research institute, and is currently the most-quoted person in the Christian church in the USA because of his statistical work. To summarize the book's most important conclusions:

* The number of Christians attending local church in the USA is declining rapidly. Today, 70% of Christians attend traditional churches, but this will sink to 30-35% in 20 years;

* The number of followers of Jesus who do not attend a local church will grow from 30% to 70% in the next 20 years;

* Alternative fellowship forms (house church/simple church, post-modern churches etc.), currently home for 5% of USA Christians, will grow to make up 30-35%; another 30-35% will live out their faith in the fields of media, arts and culture; the remaining 5% of Christians attending non-traditional forms of church will have a family-based spiritual life;

* Conclusion: a minority group presently not even noticed by many will become the mainstream of North American Christianity in only two decades.

"This is a revolution, and will change not only the recruiting strategies of seminaries and Bible schools, but also radically question church building projects," says Barna. If only half as many people will be visiting traditional congregational services in 20 years, a smaller building will suffice.
Source: George Barna "Revolution"

USA: Hollywood more Christian than believed Hollywood may not be as godless as many proclaim, concludes a study just published by The Barna Group (TBG). 24,147 adults in the 86 largest cities and
27 most populous States of the USA were interviewed about 28 factors of their faith. One of the results is a shock for many people: Los Angeles, the city which evangelical Christians often criticise for the media produced there, is home to almost a million 'deeply committed Christians', more Evangelicals than
New York, Chicago and Boston together. "Los Angeles is huge," says Barna. "Even if the percentage of the population which is Christian is below the national average, the city is so large, with over 10 million inhabitants, that it contains the highest number of Christians." The State with the highest proportion of Evangelicals in California, with 2 million; the State with the
least Evangelical adults is Connecticut, where only 26,000 of the 2.5 million inhabitants consider themselves Evangelical. Of the 86 largest cities in the USA, Salt Lake City, Utah, Hartford, Connecticut and Providence, Rhode Island have the smallest and Little Rock, Arkansas (22%), the greatest percentage of
Evangelical inhabitants.
Source: TBG

England: Greenbelt rocks again
The Greenbelt Festival held in Cheltenham, England every August, is experiencing a comeback. The annual festival, originally evangelically-focussed and arts-oriented, began in 1974 with only 2,000 visitors. Following a period of decline in the 90's, this year's festival attracted a record number of 20,000
visitors. John Bell of the Iona Community, which follows Celtic spirituality, says "In a materialistic and anti-institutional age, in which churches are marginalised and ridiculed, Greenbelt stands out as a life-changing, faith-strengthening and politically involved experience. Many people are losing their traditional
understanding of Church, and see festivals like Greenbelt as the expression of a new way of being church."

"Society must listen to religious fundamentalists"
"Society must listen to religious fundamentalists if it wants to stagger back from the precipice on which it stands," says author Karen Armstrong, known to many for her radical stance against fundamentalism and for reconciliation between Christians, Muslims and Jews. Armstrong is an expert on Islam and Christianity, and pointed out that violence and terrorism is basically fuelled
by fear. "We need to decode what fundamentalists are trying to tell us. They often express fear of things that no society can really ignore. It's not just about religious zealots; only a small percentage of fundamentalists are involved in terrorism. The trick is to prevent the broad mass of fundamentalists being drawn to the most radical group's side. When these movements are attacked, they become even more extreme and hit back, as we see with Al Qaeda. Fundamentalism is not only religiously motivated, but also a
spreading rebellion against modern secularism destroying traditional religious life. That is what they are fighting against. They don't want their way of life to become extinct. We need to learn to understand that. We're at the edge of a
deep chasm, two groups staring at each other: one group for whom modernity has been a good experience, and one which feels threatened by it."
Source: various

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The Friday Fax is originally published in German by Wolfgang Simson, and translated into English by Steven Bufton. This version © 2005 Steven Bufton. Permission is granted, however, to publish stories from the Friday Fax, provided these are correctly attributed to "The Friday Fax,
www.bufton.net/fridayfax".

2 Comments:

At 9/08/2005 09:49:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave him so that his servants might have knowledge of the things which will quickly take place: and he sent and made it clear by his angel to his servant…” (Revelation 1:1)

Dear Pastor Jaeson,
God bless you!!!

Worker with you in Christ Jesus

 
At 9/13/2005 01:53:00 AM , Anonymous pam said...

disturbing news, and undoubtedly God's people must be obedient to God's call...however, i'm reminded by what Bill Johnson says, "statistics don't impress me, they're yesterday... today and tomorrow are mine" something along those lines...
keep on changing the world by the overflow of His love!

 

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