Miller DVDs help groups get real

Donald Miller’s new Convergence DVDs – which include frank dialogue between Miller and leading Christian thinkers – gives viewers a glimpse of recent changes in the American church.

For instance, now believers prefer relational learning over reading assignments and Q&A sessions.

In the words of Erick Goss, creator of the Convergence DVDs, “The former ‘What do you know?’ gives way now to ‘What is your life about? And who are you?’ The shift is from teacher-student to shared spiritual formation.”

Convergence, in stores  Nov. 17, rides the demographic shift in an unprecedented series of 15-minute videos for small groups – the first video series produced for a video generation with small groups in mind.

Goss emphasizes his points with statistics and conclusions from “Lost & Found,” a recent poll of young unchurched people taken by the Southern Baptist Church.

“The vast majority of 20-somethings believe they can have a good relationship with God outside of church,” Goss says. “They believe Christianity places organized religion over loving God and loving people. They’ll listen to someone who believes in Christ, but it better be authentic.”

Three significant trends
The aging of small groups is one of three trends stirring the church, Goss said. The other two trends are this generation’s demands for “reality” and their disdain for talking heads and shallow fixes and this generation’s reflexive use of technology.

“President Obama was backed by young evangelical Christians whose passions and hot-buttons don’t necessarily reflect the Boomers. And much of it was accomplished online and on Twitter,” Goss said. “Demographics alone tell us the church we have today is not the church we’ll have 20 years from now. A lot rides on how we react to the truth and apply it to our lives. A lot rides on using an abundance of technology and adapting how we communicate.”

Why Don Miller?
Donald Miller is the New York Times bestselling author of “Blue Like Jazz,” a book that sold 1.2 million copies and exposed a generation hungry for faith over religion.

“A lot of kids want to know God but are embarrassed by the church as they see it,” Miller says.

“They’re not giving up their Wednesday nights for a study guide and a highlighter. But tell them who you are, speak to their honest questions from your own life and, believe me, they make time.”

Convergence is founded upon this sense of honesty.  For instance, in one Convergence DVD, Miller speaks with Dr. Dan Allender, a man who turned to God when he learned of a contract on his life for selling illegal pharmaceuticals. And even in his undeniable belief, Allender says, he has disbelief.

“Where do you find God?” Miller asks.

“Go to the darkest place you can think of, and God is there,” Allender replies in a fascinating exchange of disclosure, depth, faith and wisdom.

In other DVDs, Miller is joined by Phyllis Tickle, the former head of the religious division of Publisher’s Weekly, and Lauren Winner, author of “Girl Meets God.”

Supporting Convergence and the launch of his new book, “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years,” Miller kicked off a 60-city North American bus tour Sept. 15, taking his one-man brand of Christian conversation from California to New York and points between.

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