Revolutionary Agents of Transformation
The Barna Group, a well-known and respected statistical resarch group, has recently released a study of what they consider to be the next church revolution. Studies have shown an increase in the participation in “alternative forms of the church”, indicating we are on the verge of a new generation of believers. The “revolutionaries” have these characteristics in common:
Not Just College Students
As radical as it sounds, the new generation of worshipers are not entirely new at all. In fact the most numerous group in the surveys were the baby boomers.
Believers connected to the new “marketplace ministry” are twice as likely to have a biblical worldview than those who attend the traditional congregational based church. They are also 1/3rd more likely to believe that absolute truth does exist.
More than a House Church
About 1/3 of the group also participate in forms of church outside of the house church. This may be marketplace ministries, cyberchurch, or other faith-focused events.
The heart of the matter is the discontent with the traditional church. The revolutionaries are more interested in BEING the church RATHER than GOING to church. They also focus intently on their experience with God, seeking ways to improve their connectivity with Him through uncanny practices such as a form of praise art, where artist will paint, draw, etc. during worship. There is also an intense focus on the value of family, viewing the family as the greatest expression of the local church.
Why Do I Care?
What is striking to me is that as I heard the interview, I felt like my beliefs concerning the traditional church lined up with these “revolutionaries”, albeit I have had no bias in feeling this way. Prior to the articles, books, and interviews I became dissatisfied with my experience witht he congregational church. I was wanting more discipleship and a focus on people, rather than focusing on how many we have in Sunday School. I know there are others in my life who felt the same call out of the traditional legalism and into something new.
Albeit, the new and emerging worship is awesome and I firmly believe is God inspired, the new generation of revolutionaries need to remember those they are leaving behind, rather than distancing themselves from that part of the body. On a positive note, Barna’s study showed that those going to the alternative forms of Church were more likely to participate in traditional and alternative than those who do not. In other words, alternative church goes will attetnd both kinds, and traditional church goers will not.