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Five Trends Defining Americans' Relationship to Churches

Churchgoing is a dynamic part of U.S. society. New research from Barna Group shows the ways in which Americans are maintaining—and renegotiating—their connections with the churches that they attend. The State of the Church 2020 study is a year-long examination of the spiritual and religious trends that define American life these days. To provide a meaningful analysis of the trends affecting pastors and Christian leaders, Barna’s researchers primarily explored two different categories of adults who have relatively recent experience in a Christian church—practicing Christians and churched adults.

Introducing the State of the Church 2020

This year, here at the start of a new decade—the 2020 decade!—Barna Group is returning to one of its foundational projects: the State of the Church. In this pivotal moment, our aim is to help Christian leaders gain a realistic-and-hopeful context and discern a faithful direction forward in our chaotic, disruptive culture. Or, as we’ll say a lot this year: to see clearly, lead confidently and engage effectively.

What's on the Minds of America's Pastors

For decades, Barna has conducted research specifically on U.S. church leaders, uncovering what they, and others, believe about their role in the Church, as well as shedding light on their concerns and aspirations for both the local church and the Church in the U.S. In an effort to get a snapshot of the current concerns clergy may have as they enter a new decade, Barna conducted a poll to see how pastors and priests rank some of the issues facing the Church today. We’re kicking off our State of the Church 2020 project with this new study, along with a few findings and statistics from past research to help contextualize faith leaders’ most pressing questions and problems.

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