Tag Archives: Barna group

Living a 3D Life in a 2D World

If you aren’t familiar with the term “catfish” in today’s society, according to urbandictionary.com it is “someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using… social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances.” Last year, NCAA football Heisman candidate Manti Te’o made national headlines when it was discovered he was catfished. MTV also has a show devoted to catfishing. It’s hard to know who is real in this 2D digital age.

It’s no wonder millennials are skeptical of everyone including Christians. They don’t know who is real and who isn’t. They are dropping out of churches at an alarming rate. The Barna Group says 59% of those who grew up in church leave in the first decade of their adult life. Most who leave the church never had significant relationships in the church. The same research shows that 70% of those who dropped out never had a close friendship with an adult.

They’re looking for relationships from someone who is real and knows how to make being a Christian relevant in today’s society. Going to dinner, hanging out, being open and honest and spending spare time with them is important. They aren’t interested in the masks we wear at church that say everything is fine and life is perfect as a Christian. They need someone who will invest in a relationship with them and isn’t afraid to be honest to the point of showing their faults and doubts.

Another area where we as the Church can help to reach this generation is by being devoted to God’s Word. We have to know what the Bible says and how to apply it to relationships, family, jobs, hard times, uncertainties and more. It’s not enough to Google a scripture, point to it and say, “Well that’s what God’s Word says.” You need to know the scripture and be able to share how you understand it and how you have applied it to your life. They need to know why you believe what you do so you must be able to articulate your beliefs.

Finally, I believe that we need to be mentored by those in the church. They need discipleship in its purest form: one on one mentoring. They aren’t looking to learn about God from Sunday School. They want someone who has experienced God in a real way to sit down with them, befriend them and show them how God integrates into every point of life. They need someone to walk through God’s Word with them and to show them how they can apply it. They want to know your experiences with applying the Bible to day to day life. In short, they’re looking for someone to be real.

I believe they are looking for someone to live a 3D life in this 2D world. They want someone who truly is Devoted to God’s Word, can Dine with them and Disciple them. The early church gave us this model on Acts 2:46-47. It says, “They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved. (MSG)” God’s plan for growing the Early Church will still work today.

I’m writing today’s devotion as a prelude to a book idea. The Barna Group has an idea for a series of books called Frames. They are looking to create short, meaningful reads on the top issues facing us in today’s complex culture. They have nine frames ready and are looking for an unknown author to write the tenth. I’m wanting to write about living a 3D life in a 2D world as a way to attract and keep millennials. You can help me if you have a Twitter account by retweeting this. You can also learn more about Barna Frames and submit your idea by clicking here.

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Are We Goats Thinking We’re Sheep?

I’ve got Haiti on my heart this morning. Partly because I’m headed back in a few months and partly because we watched a video from Richard Stearns from World Vision last night. He reminded us of the scripture in Matthew 25:35-40 where Jesus told of the day where God will separate the sheep from the goats. Jesus said that He will turn to the sheep and say, “I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to me.’ (MSG)”

What stood out to me last night as he read that scripture was the response of the sheep. They said, “Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’ (MSG)”. They didn’t even realize it was Jesus they were doing it to. They were doing those things because God’s love compelled them to.

That’s a stark contrast from where the Church is today. The Barna Group released the results of a study yesterday. They interviewed over 700 self-professed Christians and asked a series of 20 questions about attitudes and actions. In the end, only 14% of self-professed Christians were found to have the attitudes and actions of Jesus. Another 14% had the actions of Jesus, but not His attitude. The results show a lot more and if you like, you can see it here.

If we add those numbers together, barely a quarter of Christians act like Jesus. He spent His time in ministry to the poor, the hurting, the outcasts, the leppers and the unwanted. He spent very little time with those who were looking for power and prestige. He made it clear that He wanted us to do the same. You can see that in what He said in Matthew 25. The ones who made it to Heaven were those who fed the hungry, gave drinks to the thirsty, sheltered the homeless, gave clothes to the poor and visited those who were sick or in prison. When is the last time we’ve done any of those things?

We’ve spent millions building bigger, more stylish churches and only thousands on taking care of the poor. I look at those results of the Barna group and ask myself, “What area do I fall in? Do I have both the attitudes and actions of Jesus? Am I in the 28% or in the other 72%?” Those are tough questions that God and I are going to work through. I encourage you to ask the same questions. If you’re not in the 28%, what can you start doing today to move in that direction? How can you be one of the sheep instead of a goat?

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