"Our research shows that local churches have virtually no influence in our culture. The seven dominant spheres of influence are movies, music, television, books, the Internet, law, and family. The second tier of influencers is comprised of entities such as schools, peers, newspapers, radio, and businesses. The local church appears among entities that have little or no influence on society." (Barna, Revolution. 2005. 118.)
You know those paper McDonald's placemats you used to get with your Happy Meal when you were a kid? I loved those... especially the mazes. I'd drag my ketchup-dipped-french-fry along, leaving more than one soggy trail that ended in disappointment. But eventually, I'd find the path & all was well in my little Happy Meal world
Call me an optimist, but I believe people really want to make a difference in this world. And while the path we once followed is proving to be a dead end; that doesn't mean there's not another path that goes all the way. How's the popular addage go? ... Edison found 1,800 ways not to make a light-bulb before finding the way that worked? Maybe, in this potmodern opportunity, we've discovered 1,800 years of how not to redeem the world & we're at the dawn of discovering the way that works. And on top of all that, we have the advantage of a divine example in Jesus pointing the way for us.
The death of the institutional church is bad news for some, but for many of us, it means that in recognizing that dead end, we're closer to discovering the Way to victory. Closer to what we lost so soon after Christ gave it to us. How do we describe such a dramatic move toward home?