Barna on the Local Church

“...if we place all our hope in the local church, it is a misplaced hope. Many well-intentioned pastors promote this perspective by proclaiming, ‘The local church is the hope of the world.’ Like most advertising slogans, this notion is emotionally appealing The trouble is, the sentiment is not biblical. Jesus, and Jesus alone, is the hope of the world. The local church is one mechanism that can be instrumental in brining us closer to Him and helping us to be more like Him. But, as the research data clearly show, churches are not doing the job. If the local church is the hope of the world, then the world has no hope.” – George Barna in Revolution, pg. 36.

Definitely worth a read.  More tomorrow.


3 Responses to “Barna on the Local Church”

  1. Alan Hirsch Says:

    Hi Sam

    Gee Barna is hard on the Church! I’m really amazed he still has an audience. Not that I disagree with his claim about Jesus being the central reality and hope for the world. Who would anyhow?! Nor am I challenging his basic argument tht the church at large is the major blockage to the Gospel. I agree with him, but I do think a bit more grace is called for. He is so unrelenting with that whipping stick of his. My question to a guy like Barna is: have you ever tried doing it yourself?

  2. Sam Says:


    Great question.

    I have only met George Barna once and that was many years ago. So I have no firsthand or personal anecdotes to spice up my reply.

    I have two suspicions:

    1) It seems like a profound dissapointment in the local church combined with an intense, prophetic gifting have come together in what he writes and

    2) He is very apostolically gifted and because of an ecclesiology that is too limited, he has been frustrated beyond measure in his expectations as to what could and should happen in a local church setting.

    Hey, when you move to California, let’s go see him. You’re a well known author and with such celbrity status, you could probably get us an appointment!

  3. Zane Anderson Says:

    As to the question of if Barna has done it himself, only he could best answer. According to the book jacket “doing” isn’t where it’s at. It’s “being the church.”

    Now that’s an interesting phrase. Wonder what the origin of it is. What would my kids say if I took them aside today and commanded that they “just be the family?”

    Most churches, btw, which I have seen would love to have some energized “revolutionaries” to encourage and be encouraged by. What’s new?

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