Let’s turn our attention to the church after God’s own heart in our present day. In 2005, George Barna wrote a best-selling book called Revolution. George Barna, Revolution (Carol Stream: Tyndale, 2005). The book has caused a fire-storm in many traditional churches. Here are some of the things that he wrote in that volume:
A quiet revolution is rocking America, though the nation is largely unaware of it. Ibid., p.9
The quiet revolution is about recognizing that we are not called to go to church. We are called to be the church. Ibid., p. 39
Modern research demonstrates that the institutional church has little to no ability to transform the lives of God’s people. It also has virtually no influence on our culture. Ibid., pp. 51-67, 118.
The Bible neither describes nor promotes the local church as we know it today. Ibid., p. 37
The Bible never describes “church” the way we have configured it. Ibid., p. 115
Among the fastest growing models of church is the house church. Ibid., p. 65
These facts and figures warrant more than a condescending rebuff by the conventional church elite. Equally so, they merit more than a disinterested yawn by those who meet outside the traditional church.
Something is happening in our day. The wind of God is blowing, and it’s blowing outside the traditional church. But I have a concern.
We Christians are experts at being theorists. Visit any new non-traditional church today that is seeking to recover the spirit of first-century church life, and you will find countless theories afloat about what is needed for their church to thrive and survive.
I’m of the hard opinion that our theories are relatively worthless. What we need is experience. Thus in order for us to succeed in the present, we have to look at the past. So let’s take a quick trip through history.