Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Preaching the Passions

revolution by barna

I have just finished reading "Revolution" by George Barna. It is not a new book (copyright 2005). But I am just now getting around to it. I have not been overly impressed with the house-church movement through the years and when first looking at the book and thinking that house-churches was what Barna was pushing, it dropped way down my reading list.

But circumstances arranged themselves for me to spend time in this little book. And while this is not going to be a book review, I will say that I have real mixed reactions to it. On the one level, it is an idealistic book that paints "revolutionaries" in the best possible light and churches in the worse possible light. And when you compare the best of one movement to the worst of another, it doesn't take a fifth grader to guess which one is going to come out on top. I don't believe that he also takes human sin seriously. He paints a picture of the future of house churches that is all rosy and, well..., revolutionary. While he tips his hat, to "this movement will not be perfect", I believe that the movement he describes will take on the same or fundamentally similar foibles & weaknesses of the local church, because it will be populated by (mostly) redeemed sinners, just like the church.

HOWEVER... I do believe that there is much to be said for how we address people in this new age. Drawing from the book of Acts, he lays out seven (the perfect number of course) passions of revolutionaries. Putting it that way is a bit disingenuous because it presumes that they are not passions of other believers as well...but the point is still valid that these are biblical passions that fit well for this emerging culture:

Seven Passions of Revolutionaries (drawn from Acts 2-5.

  • Intimate Worship
  • Faith Based Conversations
  • Intentional Spiritual Growth
  • Servanthood
  • Resource Investment
  • Spiritual Friendships
  • Family Faith

Barna then takes each of these and lays out how existing churches can take advantage of this movement (in a good way) to help people in their church draw closer to Jesus.

How Churches Should Respond:

1. Your church must cultivate an atmosphere in which intimate
worship can occur.

2. We must resource and encourage people to enter faith-based
conversations with others.

3. We must get intentional about spiritual growth.

4. We must release in people the God-given desire to serve.

5. Don’t be afraid to address the issue of resources – and that
includes money.

6. Create opportunities for the development of spiritual friendships

7. We must put emphasis on the family, resourcing parents to teach their children the ways and ethics of the Kingdom of Christ.

There is nothing there that is objectionable (at least to me). It will be important for me to make sure that my preaching reflects how to develop these characteristics in our lives...and that our church's programming is focused in these directions.

Maybe more later on Barna...but maybe not!

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