Taking Notice

I’m not sure about you, but story is one of the easiest ways for me to catch a vision for something. You can keep the facts and statistics about church attendance, conversions, or church planting movements; give me some good narrative about lives being transformed. I hope the stories of the last few weeks have been as encouraging to you as they are to me. I hope they move us past a simple “Oh, that’s nice” to action in our own lives, wherever we are. I look forward to sharing more stories with my “readership” as they become available.

On a related note, some big names in Evangelical Christianity are taking notice of some current American Christian trends, many of which I’ve mentioned on this blog. George Barna, (Barna.org), who in the past has conducted research relating to the practices and beliefs in contemporary Christianity in America, has announced that he will be taking a different approach in the future. Instead of being a “neutral” information-giver, Barna has said he will now begin to provide resources regarding various movements of disciple-making in America — basically, what he sees as “working.” In the same vein, he’s got a book coming out this fall. I’ll let George himself tell you about it:

Picking up where some of our previous efforts left off, we have entered into a strategic partnership with Tyndale House Publishers to launch the BarnaBooks line of publications. Starting in 2005, these branded books will reveal what is happening in the emerging Church — not the postmodern, candles/coffee/couches types of anti-modern ministries, but the Revolutionary ministry that is percolating to the surface of American society through new forms of ministry such as the cyberchurch, house churches, marketplace ministries, and tribal faith experiences. While I will write a few books for the line – the first, Revolution, is scheduled to release in September 2005 – most of the books will be written by the new generation of spiritual leaders who are propelling the Church into the 21st century with an intense passion for God and a commitment to being the Church rather than worrying about protecting the forms and institutions that have been in place.

Leaders like Barna are taking notice of the Ben Cheeks, the Greg Willises, the Columbian marketplace churches of the world, and he’s calling on them to tell their stories. These are everyday people doing extraordinary things for the kingdom in SIMPLE WAYS. I pray that Christendom as a whole will look to these movements and learn from them, constantly remembering that “God uses the weak things of the world to shame the wise.”

May we all commit to playing an active part — not sitting the bench — in the epic story in which we find ourselves. (and go buy Barna’s book in September!)

Andrew Jones wrote a review on the advance copy of Revolution RIGHT HERE.

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