House Church Talk - possibility of chat
david at housechurch.org
Tue Sep 30 15:49:08 EDT 2003
Lemme know if you would like to chat once or twice a week. Sunday nights,
at first. As soon as 20 or so respond, I'll get it going, provided I can
find a facilitator. Please reply via private email if you want to be
contacted when chat commences. Thanks.
The Cyberchurch Is Coming by George Barna
April 20, 1998
(Ventura, CA) - Fifteen years from now you may tell your grandchildren
that back in the old days, when people wanted a religious experience they
attended a church for that purpose. Chances are good that your
grandchildren will be shocked by such a revelation.
A recent survey of American teenagers by the Barna Research Group of
Ventura, California, underscores the increasing use of the Internet for
religious purposes among young people. Currently, 4% use the Internet for
religious or spiritual experiences. Although that represents a modest
gain from a year earlier, the most revealing insight concerned their
expectations for the future. One out of six teens (16%) said that within
the next five years they expect to use the Internet as a substitute for
their current church-based religious experience. Significantly, this
notion was most common among teenagers who currently attend church
regularly. African-American teens were four times more likely than white
teens to expect to rely on the Internet for their future religious
experience (31% vs. 8%, respectively).
If that seems outrageous, consider the fact that a recent survey by Barna
Research among adults shows that 12% of the adult population is already
using the Internet for religious purposes. The most common of those
purposes is to interact with others via chat rooms or e-mail about
religious ideas, beliefs or experiences. That represents about 25 million
adults who rely upon the Internet for religious expression each month.
Not surprisingly, there is a clear generational bias in cyberfaith.
Younger adults are more likely to turn to the Net for religion. Overall,
17% of Baby Busters (ages 18 to 32) use the Net this way, compared to 11%
of Boomers (ages 33 to 51), 8% of Builders (ages 52 to 70) and 4% of
Seniors (71 or older). An unexpected outcome was finding non-white adults
being 60% more likely to use the Internet for faith matters than white
adults (16% versus 10%, respectively). Also, non-Christians are nearly as
likely as Christians to seek spiritual input through the Net (10% versus
George Barna, president of the company conducting the surveys, explained
some of the findings. "Our research indicates that by 2010 we will
probably have 10% to 20% of the population relying primarily or
exclusively upon the Internet for its religious input. Those people will
never set foot on a church campus because their religious and spiritual
needs will be met through other means - including the Internet. Whether
or not the cyberchurch is a "true" church may not be pressing an issue as
what current church leaders will do about the inevitable gravitation of
tens of millions of people away from the existing church and how they can
help to shape this emerging church form.
"The discomfort of today's church leaders with the cyberchurch is not
surprising. When Willow Creek Community Church popularized the "seeker
church" format in the late 70s and early 80s, the mainstream of the
church community rejected the approach as an invalid and non-viable form
of church, an inauthentic expression of biblical faith. The cyberchurch
will receive the same treatment from today's church leaders."
Barna also pointed out that the proportion of young people currently
using the Internet for faith purposes is underestimated. "A large
proportion of teenagers use the Net for conversation with others. A
substantial number of cyberchatters engage in dialogue related to faith,
spirituality, religion, meaning and truth - the very types of
conversations that are often initiated or fostered by churches. Teens do
not think of those conversations as religious expression, but the sense
of community and the spiritual beliefs fostered by such dialogue on
spiritual matters is identical to what the traditional church seeks to
create within its congregation." ....
The Future Church
In Barna's newly-released book (The Second Coming of the Church, Word
Publishing) various structures and models of the future church are
described. "This new research supports our contention that the structure
of the American church is already undergoing radical change. If you add
up the proportion of people who will call the cyberchurch their "church
home", those who will align with an independent house church and
individuals who will be steadfastly unchurched, within the next 15 years
a majority of Americans will be completely isolated from the traditional
Continued on the Barna Research site. If you respond to this post, quote
only what is needful. Thanks.
House Church Talk is sponsored by the House Church Network.
House Church Talk has been renamed. These discussions, via the web, now occur at the Radically Christian Cafe.