Barna’s Beefs

His nine challenges for American Christianity
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  • Challenge 1: The Same Old Same Old

    Religious energy may be experienced through new forms of music or dramatic architecture, but there is a noteworthy staleness to the faith experience of most Americans. If Christianity is to be a serious component in people's lives, there must be an intentional and strategic shakeup of what we do and how we do it within our faith communities. More of the same won't get us any farther down the road of genuine discipleship.

  • Challenge 2: The Decline of the Evangelicals

    We categorize people as "evangelicals" on the basis of their theological beliefs. The diminution of the group suggests that aberrant theology and doctrine are increasingly invading the inner circle of the Bible-believing community. Whether you applaud evangelicals or abhor them, recognize the implications of their marginalization. Every day, the church is becoming more like the world it allegedly seeks to change. At what point does that collapse become a "crisis" and merit concentrated and strategic response?

  • Challenge 3: Ethnic Ascension

    How will the church address the extreme ethnic diversification of faith communities? Most efforts at building multiethnic or multicultural churches have failed for various reasons. Planting new churches designed to reach a particular nonwhite ethnic group may not do much toward building a true church. How can we translate that openness into a church that is truly colorblind and authentically biblical?

  • Challenge 4: What About the Bible?

    In the last quarter-century it seems that we have learned how to sell Bibles but not how to sell what's in the Bible. Increasingly, people pick and choose the Bible content they like or feel comfortable with, but ignore the rest of God's counsel. This tendency seems especially prolific among young adults and teenagers. What can we do to elevate the prominence, credibility, and perceived value of God's Word in the eyes of a fickle and distracted public?

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