I have 15 pages left on this book, and a friend of mine is reading it. Rather than giving if I thought it good or bad, I just want to write some thoughts. There are definitely some frustrations among churches today that institutionalized churches are unable to reach out to non-believers, many of them are spiritually receptive. The voice against church hypocrisy is increasing, and admittedly, we Christ-followers have been more hypocritical than we should have, with the dilemma that we could and should be better. We came too far as to the point where "It's not about what we do, but what God does" seems like a canned excuse than a lofty theological truth.Somewhat, in this light, the emergence of such a movement is understandably natural. I feel not very comfortable to throw away existing churches altogether (It is the body of Christ after all), but it surely casts a light to think if we should be continuing in the current manner. Who Mr. Barna calls "Revolutionaries" might not be necessarily the answer, but thought-provoking definitely.
A truly revolutionary book! Addresses basic Christianity and how Christ wants us to look to Him for our sufficiency instead of the local church or pastors. This book clearly states our responsibility to bring the Good News to others and to bring glory to God the Father. A strong Bible preaching church should be our ally in this mission. But we must not ever compromise our effectiveness to be the "hands and feet," by expecting the church to do it alone!
I am one of the "BIG C" that George Barna describes in Revolution. After many years of working in the church in several titles, I just felt that nothing was being accomplished. Same routine week after week. Church members were satisfied to just come and go back home, having done their "good" duty. Many would not participate in ministries, or pray. The "small c" must change by doing a better job in equipping its members to be bold and grateful servants of the Lord in whom they claim as savior. It is time to get serious and cut the activities and programs that are not developing willing and able Christians.
The value in this book is that it challenges us as the church to think. For me as a Pastor, I wonder if the way our church functions is as the church - little c, or as the Church - big C. Many will read this book and be critical of Barna for his less than diligent exegesis of scripture and for his biased commentary on this "revolution", however, I find value in the things he puts forth. Where I have to part ways with him is at the same junction as some previous reviews and that is that personal christianity must be partnered with a greater corporate Christianity. I would think. I can agree with some of his observations about the local church, but rather than cast it aside, I ask why not a4th response to the "revolution" and that is to reform the church little c into the Church big C. If we are the body, why not challenge the body to act like it? Why give the okay for people to leave it altogether? It may be easier to "be the church", but to me there is great value in returning the church to it's purpose. The first Christians that barna mentions quite a bit lived in community with each other. They had structure and while they may not have met in a "church building" they were hardly individual pious particles that formed multiple low commitment alliances with other believers either. Why not a Revolutionary Church? This book is definitely worth the read if you are not afraid to chew on the unconventional and maybe irresponsible views that Barna floats and extract the valuable morsels.
Barna doesn't really talk in detail about his specifics, and many of his conclusions in this book are "jumped" to because he far too biased about the "revolutionaries" he discusses. I find the book to be a mostly useless excercise in examining the house church movement and the movement of younger people (mostly) away from organized religion. He dismisses critics of such movements (which often lack any real accountability) with a broad sweep of his hand, and basically sets up the proverbial straw man of the old-fashioned rigid Evangelical to do it. Some of us are not rigid or old-fashioned but still think that accountability structures are crucial for Christ-followers.He also glosses over the fact that many who are retreating from religion are doing so to create their own belief system based on what they pick and choose from Christianity and such. These people are HARDLY a revolution against the consumer culture in many churches, it's just a new consumer culture with a different bent.All in all, he is hardly dispassionate about the statistics he examines and his conclusions are not helpful or informative. Worth reading to get his perspective, but not worth looking at twice, and not worth a review any longer than this... so bye bye... Borrow it, don't bother to buy it.
As one of the other reviewers said, the middle isn't that great, but -- keep reading. Skim if you have to, but the beginning and end are great!Throughout the first couple chapters, I just keep thinking - aha - this is me! And Mr. Barna says there are a couple million other people in the US like me? Alright! I am not just by myself in this.I can't claim to be exactly the revolutionary he describes, but it is where I hope I am heading.Mr. Miller, in his review in Christianity Today, misquoted, and misunderstands what Mr. Barna is describing. Yes, there are those that are anti-establishment or whatever, and perhaps they are similar to Barna's Revolutionaries, but they are not one in the same group. Mr. Miller would do well to re-read the last chapter where Mr. Barna gives a couple examples of possible reactions to the revolutionaries.Excellent book - I plan to buy a bunch of copies to give to people so they can perhaps understand me better.
George Barna's book, Revolution, begins and ends on a high note. However, the middle at times feels a bit weak. He explains how God is working through a new grassroots movement that will eventually replace the failing institutionalized church. The weaknesses of the book: much of what Barna calls life of a "Revolutionary" is actually just what every Christian aspires to be, the word Revolution and Revolutionary are EXTREMELY over used, and Barna often does not explain his statistics, he just refers to them. Strengths: Barna proves through his statistics that the institutionalized church is failing, explains the effects of this revolutionary movement, and how to respond to the criticism of the movement. Overall a good read.
I've been a fan of George Barna since reading "Frog in the Kettle." He depicted over 10 years ago how conditions around the institutional church had been changing gradually, slowing taking its life like a frog in a slowly heated kettle of water. Now in this fresh new title, Barna goes beyond the institutional church, describing how Christian worship and fellowship apart from it are growing by leaps and bounds. In previous works, he has given a view of the institutional church from the inside out. In this book, he looks at the institutional church from the outside in.All church leaders in general and pastors in particular, need to read this title. It is both startling and sobering. If nothing else, it will open the eyes of its readers to the Christian revolution occurring in today's society.