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Six Mega Themes for the Church in 2010 (Barna Update)

Images-30 A recent report by the Barna Group highlights six mega-themes in the church that have emerged in 2010. Click here to read the full report. Here they are:

1. The Christian Church is becoming less theologically literate.

2. Christians are becoming more ingrown and less outreach-oriented.

3. Growing numbers of people are less interested in spiritual principles and more desirous of learning pragmatic solutions for life.

4. Among Christians, interest in participating in community action is escalating.

5. The postmodern insistence on tolerance is winning over the Christian Church.

6. The influence of Christianity on culture and individual lives is largely invisible.

Have a read of the report and let me know what you think.

Comments

Barna has been a respected researcher for decades. His methods are scrupulous and scientific. His 'snap-shot' of US Christianty is disturbing to say the least. Are we following their trends? Hope not.

Barna is always interesting, but I don't give him much of my time as his research is focused on the american church environment. I think that australian christians should be looking more at what is happening amongst the church in Asia, Africa and South America. They'll gain more useful insights looking there that can help them. How many Asians are in CityLife church?? How many Americans? ;)
Barna - interesting but not relevant.

I wish we had more in common with the Asian, African and South American churches. However, I fear that just as our Australian culture draws so much from the US, so too does our church culture. I do wonder whether there is a difference in these trends between pentecostal and evangelical groups. From my limited observation I would suggest that on the pentecostal end we may be leaning more towards the trends noted by Barna, but some church groups are maintaining a stronger theological focus alongside simple, uncomplicated evangelism.

BANA - Always great information to digest ....

Some great warnings and lessons regardless of location.

Less theologically literate is of real concern if we drift away from the Bible and err toward experience ....

I could go on but won't !

The challenge always comes back to a personal one ....

Time for some self examination ... less of me and more of HIM.

Bless you and I think the report is a great discussion starter - use it well.

I know that is only a summary, but it seems quite sad to me. I wonder if the bottom five are a result of the top one?

True, Australia is different than the USA in many ways. However, the influence of American Christianity on the Australian church is fairly high, especially through Christian TV and conference speakers. I think we live in more of a post-Christian context than America, although not as far as Europe. So it is worth keeping an eye on what is happening in the USA while also realising our uniqueness ... I also agree that God is moving most in the non-western world at the moment, although in less high-profile ways. I have visited amazing churches in Manilla, Kampala and Moscow that churches in the West could learn a lot from ... CityLife Church currently has 110 nationalities represented with about 40% of them being Asian. This in many ways reflects the cosmopolitan nature of the city of Melbourne. I love the diversity and see it as a strength. It's who we are and our leadership team reflects this.

Hi Mark, read the report and can personally relate. It took me awhile to really think on how I should respond. Study/application of scripture has always served to keep me within spiritual boundaries. At my best, scripture compels me to be outreach-oriented, trains me in spiritual principles, compels justice-oriented actions, influences my outlook/living beyond the church 24-7. But, I also needed a community/God's people to live up to those standards as well - a cheering squad, if you like. I read somewhere that Jewish wisdom teaches that people ought to have mentors, peers and mentorees in their lives; the church ought to be like family to one another, love each other beyond superficial levels, sacrifice beyond self, live up to the standard of God's Word. I find myself single, single, single in everything I do/think/decide. Postmodern life - the internet, instant gratification, weakening community bonds, individualism (everything that contrast the early church in Acts), serves to derail our faith and our commission to correct and keep one another accountable. Points 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 are as a result of point 1 being amissed in peoples' lives. Point 4 - everyone needs a purpose & to feel good about their existence (we all need to be altruistic at some level, to be thinking about our neighbour). Point 2-people have personal problems/needs. In the gospels, people followed Jesus for miracles, healings, but not always to hear about the Kingdom of Heaven. Why? Is it because the Word of God cuts and corrects our misplaced principles and priorities? Mark, I'm 100% behind your leadership to bring the church back to first principles - discipleship.

SOunds like he got his informaation from the 'Signposts' and 'Groupsects' Blogs.

That's exactly what they have been saying for years.

Mark said that the infuence of american christianity on the australian church is fairly high. I did say I did not think Barna's findings are that relevant for the australian church. I meant that in the context of becoming better informed on how to do church/christianity better. Barna's summary is based upon a series of national research studies conducted in the Barna Poll by the Barna Group throughout 2010. Each study was conducted via telephone interviews with a random sample of adults selected from across the continental United States, age 18 and older. It appears that Barna uses statistical marketing research methods, taking a random sample of the general public and finds out what they think. He then makes some assumptions. It is not a snaapshot of the american church, it's what Americans THINK of the church in America. As such his assumptions are subject to the same issues and problems that statistical marketing research in general has. The main one is that he has sampled a different population (american public vs australian public). You can't apply those findings to a different population (asutralia) with statistical confidence. Also it's what the public thinks about the church, which is not necessarily what the church is actually like. The marketing construct he is discussing is a cultural reflection of public attitudes towards 'the church and christianity'. That is not necessarily what is actually happening within churches (that would require a different research approach). It's interesting, but I am more interested in how to be a better christian and help my local church run better. Barna's research does not direct me to any churches in America that are doing a great job (and there are many). I find Barna's research not relevant to my needs. I would caution anyone on trying to apply it directly to an australian context. But is is an interesting conversation starter! ;)

I WILL LIKE YOU TO SEND ME SOME OF YOUR CHRISTIAN MATERIALS THAT CAN HELP ME TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE TRUTH, AND TO TEACH OTHERS TOO. BIBLES,DVDS,VIDEOS, SUNDAY SCHOOL MATERIALS, BOOKS, AND ANY OTHERS MATERIALS THAT CAN HELP DO THE WORK OF GOD. YOUR HELP IS VERY NEEDED, TO BUILD THE KINGDOM OF GOD.LET US HELP, AS THEY DID ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST. HOPE TO HEAR FROM YOU SOON. PASTOR MATTHEW ABLORDEY NEW COVENANT APOSTOLIC CHURCH POST BOX 549, HOHOE VOLTA REGION GHANA

Hi Matthew. If you visit our church web site, you will find a heap of resources under the "resources' tab. Enjoy :)

www.citylifechurch.com

God bless you and your ministry!

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