Developing Revolutionaries?

Is it our desire in Christian schools to develop Revolutionaries? George Barna, in his latest book, Revolution, has coined this term to define a “new breed” of Christians who are responding to our age of revolutions (information, technological, sexual, global, etc.), to our materialistically focused society, and to our “whatever” postmodern mindset.

He defines Revolutionaries as:
“…devout followers of Jesus Christ who are serious about their faith, who are constantly worshipping and interacting with God, and whose lives are centered on their belief in Christ.” They demonstrate “complete dedication to being thoroughly Christian by viewing every moment of life through a spiritual lens and making every decision in light of Biblical principles. These are individuals who are determined to glorify God every day through every thought, word, and deed in their lives.”

At the same time he presents evidence that this group, 20 million strong and growing, does not particularly find the institutional church where they want to be. He wonders why the local church is not more transformational and why these Revolutionaries may not opt for involvement in the local church. He notes some troubling signs, according to his research, about churched Christians (a few selected highlights):

  • 8 out of every 10 believers do not feel they have entered into the presence of God during the worship service.
  • Only 9% of all born-again adults have a Biblical worldview.
  • Fewer than 10% of churched Christians donate at least 10% of their incomes to churches and other non-profit organizations.
  • The typical believer would rather give money to an organization than personally assist in alleviating the needs of the disadvantaged.
  • A large majority of churched believers rely upon their church, rather than their family, to train their children to become spiritually mature.
  • Most Christian parents do not believe they are doing a good job at facilitating the spiritual development of their children. 

What is significant for us, as we consider how to strengthen ties between the school, home, and church, are his predictions about the future:

  • By the year 2025, only one-third of the population will rely upon a local congregation as the primary or exclusive means for experiencing and expressing their faith; one-third will do so through alternative forms of a faith-based community; and one-third will realize their faith through the media, the arts, and other cultural institutions.
  • Unfortunately, as far as we can determine, the family will remain a mere blip on the radar screen when it comes to serving as the conduit for faith experience and expression, remaining central to perhaps 5 percent of the population.

What do these predictions mean for us as we nurture faith with students and seek to partner with churches and homes?

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5 Comments

Filed under Biblical worldview, kids/culture, mission development, student outcomes, worship

5 responses to “Developing Revolutionaries?

  1. No doubt we have problems in a post-modern world. No doubt that the institutional church is often adrift in understanding and teaching its mission. No doubt that the church has been colored by society while not coloring society enough.

    That said, Barna’s research and book is flawed. He has already taken a stand against the institutional church and then developes the data to support his stand.

    Perhaps our task is to provide the institutional church with future leaders who have their heads on straight–viewing life through God’s lenses.

    The sky may be tilted, but it is not falling.

  2. Stacy

    Thank you for that comment! It is really easy to get cynical and feel defeated about our world, Christianity in our world, and the impact our students will/do have on the world.

    There have to be things happening in your schools and I know there are things happening in mine that are earthshaking. When a student is sensing that a teacher is struggling and will pray for the teacher right there in the classroom during break, when students decide they will raise $10,000 for Hurricane Katrina victims and then do, and when students (not the teachers in charge) decide to help a school in Uganda by getting them everyday supplies that we take for granted. Somewhere along the way these students are really learning what it is to be Christ-like.

  3. Marisa Albarran

    Given the predictions for the future we must try and prevent the outcome by nurturing the relationship with Christ that we as adults have so that we may become good role models to the future generation. One of the solutions to the problem of fewer than 10% of church Christians donating at least 10% of their incomes to church , parents can role model given their tithe by having their children read the scripture in Malachi 3:10 and praying for their tithe as a family. By praying for the tithe as a family and having the children read the scripture it creates a memory of significance. Parents can also teach their children to donate some of their toys to the less fortunate to help prevent the prediction of the typical believer donating time to the needy rather than just giving money. Creating a family Bible study where both the child and parent choose a favorite scripture or Bible story can help train children to be more spiritually mature. It is very important to set example for our children because the future is a reflection of our decisions and actions.

  4. Stephen

    I don’t think that we need label this group of Christians as “revolutionaries” because all Christians are called to act as this group claims to. We are all called to live every day through a Christian perspective and walk personally with God. This is the calling that all Christians should answer, though we fall short, it is still the calling of every Christian, not a specific group.

  5. Pingback: Edging toward amortality « Nurturing Faith

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