In 2002, Barna suggested that there are greater than 300,000 Protestant and 20,000 Catholic churches in the U.S. He contrasts this with the 50,000 post offices and 15,000 McDonald’s that serve our nation. He writes, “the church has less impact on our culture than any of those less prolific entities, despite missions that are much less significant or compelling.” Hmmm…I guess the old “location, location, location” mantra has fallen to the wayside here. Imagine having a business with 320,000 locations in the U.S. amidst a population of over 100 million customers who have never sampled the fare, and you can’t seem to break the cycle of those folks consciously avoiding your locations. In fact, their numbers are increasing. Again, if the church were a publicly traded company, I can assure you that the Board of Directors would be screaming for an immediate “corporate restructuring” that would likely require the immediate downsizing of the existing physical plant, sweeping changes in strategic plans, and a wholesale housecleaning of present management. Perhaps it’s time to act upon the agenda of the shareholders within the Christian franchise who agree with Barna that, “We have learned that maintaining the status quo serves neither God nor the people He loves.” The quote is from Bill Dahl's article, Chef Barna's State of the Church: 2005, found on the Next Wave e-zine website.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
I'm in the middle of reading Next Wave's article on George Barna's "State of the Church: 2005" report. It's a bit snarky (the article, not George Barna) but it does a good job of conveying one of Barna's recurring themes - the church in America is not doing what God called it to do.