In their 2010 year-end report, the Barna Group identified six major patterns emerging among Christians in America:
- The Christian Church is becoming less theologically literate.
- Christians are becoming more ingrown and less outreach-oriented.
- Growing numbers of people are less interested in spiritual principles and more desirous of learning pragmatic solutions for life.
- Among Christians, interest in participating in community action is escalating.
- The postmodern insistence on tolerance is winning over the Christian Church.
- The influence of Christianity on culture and individual lives is largely invisible.
Much could be said (and done!) about each of these. In response to the drift away from outreach and missions, as mentioned in the second point (and echoed by Jerry Rankin), we put together a list of 30 practical steps church leaders can take to see that their congregations stay alive and true to the global mission of God.
Here are the first five. Read all 30.
- Place a large laminated map in your church's lobby and ask every person to sign their name or initials on the nation for which they are burdened to pray regularly.
- Host a visiting national pastor for a week or two of ministry and interaction with your church.
- Budget for your pastors to make at least one cross-cultural ministry trip each year.
- Identify a good book & study guide on global missions and lead your small groups through a church-wide study.
- When your church sends out a short-term or long-term cross-cultural team, hang a national flag representing that country in your church lobby or sanctuary as a reminder to pray each week for the team or missionary.