George Barna, 7 Tribes and Putting Your Faith On-Demand

We live in an ever-increasing on-demand world.

You want to buy something now and don’t have time to go the store? Find it online.

You don’t have time to watch your favorite TV show when the network broadcasts it? Record it on your DVR or find it on Hulu.

Going to the music store at the mall to pick up a new CD by your favorite band? Are you serious? Downloaded music has made that trip as outdated as if you were buying an 8-track to pop in the dashboard player of your ’78 Oldsmobile.

This hyper-personalization of our lives is a challenge that people of faith and religious institutions have failed to meet, according to Christian pollster George Barna.

“We have shifted our energy from a willingness to work hard toward achieving significant outcomes to an attitude of entitlement,” Barna said. “Instead of merely accumulating and enjoying leisure time to get refreshed, we now use it to express ill-formed, narrow-minded opinions that preclude dialogue and personal learning.”

He identifies seven faith tribes in a new book — Casual Christians, Captive Christians, Jews, Mormons, Pantheists, Muslims and Skeptics — that he says must harness common principles to minimize Americans being less driven by their own preferences.

There is no denying what denies Americans’ faith is in flux as is where and how they express it.

A challenge is how churches and leaders use the on-demand world to maintain the audience they have and earn fresh eyes to their messages on the computer screen.

A greater challenge lies in the average person – a.k.a. you and me – to guard against complacency and be so wrapped up in ourselves we shut the door on God.

And that challenge came way before the iPhone.


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