Thursday, April 30, 2009

George Barna as Pastor and Theologian (Part 2)

We continue with the review of George Barna's book Revolution.

Direction Box
The Direction Box is where we come up with ideas and plans of how we will synthesize the Ultimate Box and Nature Box into daily life. Here we list ideas of what we plan on doing to make this philosophy of ministry happen. George gives the following direction:
- Participate in the spiritual practices, personal faith in God, a focused outlook on life, a righteous and upbeat attitude, good character, excessive love of God and people, holy and productive lives.
- Revolutionaries will be involved in community service projects, grow faith in their family, worship God regularly, understand and apply Scripture.
- Get back to a simple First Century lifestyle.
In passing George mentions that Revolutionaries can attend a local church if it helps them grow but they can obliterate it if it does not.

Routine Box
Routine is the prescribed methods you want to put into place to see your ultimate happen. This is where you get as specific as possible in how to implement your methods. It was hard to pull out specific routines in this book. George tried very hard to not be prescriptive. I thought this was a noble thing but if you read carefully you can catch a few general prescribed routines/methods. Here are several from pp. 22-25, 81-84:
- Commit to feeling the awe (worship) of God’s magnificence.
- Intentionally talk to others about Christ and our relationship with Him.
- Serve others.
- Share everything we have with those in need.
- Become friends with others.
- Meet in houses for church.
- Daily demonstrate faith.
- Be a revolutionary every moment of every day.
- Do whatever is right all the time.
- Be willing to listen for God’s voice and orders.
- Have a total disregard for all worldly things such as leadership roles, titles, and benefits.

Education Box
Education is done by the continual renewing and reshaping of the Spirit (p.52). This practice must be intentional and it will alter our daily routines (p.41). I would agree with this. People learn best by experience or putting the Word into practice. I agree with that too. I think George’s beliefs about how we learn are right on track. To his credit, George was adamant throughout the book about living and being a Christian first and foremost. He was big on modeling Christianity; in order to do that properly you have to have a relationship with Him. I could not agree more. I got a sense that he strongly favors the more informal learning environments (e.g., a home, golf course, over a meal). I do not totally disagree with this but I think formal learning and being taught in a classroom type setting is a vital part of how we learn.

Reader beware!
So, in summary, George’s philosophy of ministry sounds great (love God, love others, and don’t let anything get in the way of this), but it must be explored and studied to really get at what he is trying to say. The places of weakness were in his nature box. His beliefs about the Church/church were what led him to dangerous ideas in the direction box. So if you read this book be cautious, be alert, and remember that God is responsible for the creation of the local church (all its spots and wrinkles too!) and wants you to join His Body right where you are at.

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