Thursday, April 9, 2009


Do you realize that over 112 million Christians worldwide do not attend a traditional church? In fact, every year, one million Christians leave the institutional church in the U.S.

According to the world-renowned pollster, George Barna, “as we entered into the twenty-first century, about 70% of all Americans relied upon some local congregation to be their dominant source of spiritual input and output”. However, by the year 2025 Barna expects that “only about one-third of the population will rely upon local congregations as their primary or exclusive means for experiencing and expressing their faith”.

Not only are many congregations finding it difficult to keep their doors open, there is a growing decline in the number of clergy younger than thirty-five. In fact, Barna “anticipate(s) the ranks of the fulltime paid professional pastorate to decrease by about one-quarter of the current level within the next 25 years”!

What in the world is going on? Is the church dying? Could it be that this is the last hour when multitudes will turn away from Jesus, showing that they never were true members of His Kingdom? Are these “departers” the antichrist! [1 John 2:18-19]

While it is a sad fact that many are being led astray, if we justly assess this mass exodus, we may discover not death but rather the image of a resurrection. Many are personally experiencing what it truly means to be a follower of Jesus.

Throngs of believers are waking-up to the reality that “church” isn’t something “they do” or “a place they go” but rather something they are. With the sleep swept from their eyes, these multitudes are recognizing that holding to “Let us not give up meeting together…” [Hebrews 10:25] doesn’t require sitting dormant in a pew every Sunday morning waiting for their next spoonful of spiritual nourishment.

Instead, they realize that the Church assembles wherever the Lord leads: homes, coffee shops, bars, internet, break rooms and street corners. [John 4:21-24] In fact, according to Barna, the number of known Christians in the USA gathering in these organic ways is already “20 million and growing by the day”!

Perceived as “rebels”, the members of this spiritual army don’t “belong to” any institutional church. They are fully satisfied with their membership in “the house of God”. [Hebrews 10:21] They understand that there is no biblical requirement to be “under the headship of a ‘pastor’”. Instead, they recognize their privilege and assume their responsibility of being priests [1 Peter 2:9] who receive orders and spiritual nourishment from the “Great Priest”, their Commander and Chief, Jesus. [Hebrews 10:21]

These 'spiritual rebels' aren't seeking to draw people into another form of the institutional church, but rather are calling people to gather in simplicity around Christ. Unshackled, worshipping their King is not an occasional event; their whole life is an act of worship. [Romans 12:1] Rather than tithing 10 % which God commanded as a guide for the immature believers of the Old Testament, everything these “revolutionaries” possess is committed to advancing the Kingdom of God: money, resources and abilities.

In reality, they aren’t attempting to be “rebels”. Nor is it their desire to even suggest “reformation” of the “established church”. Their passion is to be in the world demonstrating what it means to be “Jesus with skin on” wherever you are, without the restraints of a man-made agenda.

Kinda sounds like a “rebirth” of the New Testament Church, doesn’t it?

Sometimes what looks like death is in reality a resurrection!


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