To be a member means to be connected – to truly be a member of a church means being connected to Christ both directly and through a body of believers. When you are connected to the body, life giving blood flows to every part, bringing oxygen and nutrients and providing for every need that is required for good health. If that circulation of the blood stops because of disconnection, that body part rapidly begins to die. The process of disconnection will continue until it becomes visible – the body part falls off. When we are connected to the body of Christ, the life giving blood of Christ surrounds us continually, providing us with every need. These leaves are green – they are leafing.
In 2005, Barna Research associate Thom Black gave a presentation entitled Revolution: A
New Breed of Christ Followers to the National House Church Conference in Denver, Colorado on Saturday, September 3, 2005, 9:00-11 am. He spoke about the revolutionary” changes that are occurring in the Church – Barna studies highly committed, high energy evangelical churches such as the megachurches we are so fascinated with these days. The presentation describes trends that bring warning of a potential massive exodus of highly committed church members from all churches, including the superstar evangelical megachurches, by the year 2020. If trends continue, only a third of highly committed Christians will practice their faith within a local church.
In the mainline churches, we’ve long known this trend of the exodus of inactive members with little or not commitment to the church. This warning is different: it is the most highly committed to Christ who will now exit the church, feeling that the church no longer meets their spiritual needs and that they must seek Jesus elsewhere. The end result: attendance is predicted drop to a third of what it is now.
We’re familiar with this phenomenon – it happens every fall when the leaves begin to turn. The people are like leaves that fall to the ground. They like to say to themselves, “Don’t you love my bright colors? I’m spiritual but not religious.”
They call it “religious” but what it is can be better understood: they’re disconnecting from the body of Christ, with the predictable result. They’re no longer leafing – they’re just leaving.
The audio presentation by Barna associate Thom Black can be heard here: http://www.disciplewalk.com/Barna_Revolution.html
The photos (from upper to lower above) are courtesy of the artist via the Flickr.com Creative Commons license, followed by their location:
yahti. com http://www.flickr.com/photos/96256267@N00/1670120741/
Horia Varlan http://www.flickr.com/photos/10361931@N06/4304578704/