Dec 8, 2016

From the Archives

Busting Myths about Pastoring

It drives me crazy to see people misusing data. Even worse, I hate to see people get the data wrong and claim that it came from Barna!

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This has happened a lot when it comes to stats about today’s pastors: there is a whole swath of information on pastors that is flat-out wrong. Myths, really. And unfortunately, this data often portrays negative realities about pastors, which is tough because—while we never will shy away from releasing provocative findings—we never want to misrepresent reality. Why would we?

The problem: we haven’t had better data to bust those myths about today’s pastors.

Until now.

On January 26, Barna Group is releasing a huge new research study about pastors via a free webcast. It’s called The State of Pastors: Leading in Complexity

The research itself creates a fresh and revealing look at the lives of pastors – how they handle challenges in their families, churches, and in the community. We draw on interviews Barna has conducted with over 10,000 pastors.

We aren’t releasing any of the data before the webcast. So you’ll have to tune in to hear what we’ve been learning—and the myths we’ve been busting—about effective church leaders today.

A Different Kind of Conference

The State of Pastors isn’t your typical conference where you merely hear from a lineup of talented speakers.

The team at Barna will be presenting our research findings. And we’ve also invited an impressive group of folks to comment on the research and on the themes illuminated by the study. So, you will get both an in-depth look at the research and at what Barna is learning about the trends shaping our world and context and commentary from thought leaders, experts, and in-the-trenches pastors.

You can click here to see the presenters and commentators.

General McChrystal on Complexity

I want to draw your attention to one particular participant: General Stanley McChrystal. He will be a part of the webcast to offer his perspectives about leading in complexity. His book Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement in a Complex World has been a compelling read and shaped my thinking about leadership. The penultimate chapter is called Leading Like a Gardener. How about that from a military general! Every page of this chapter has great insights for spiritual leaders.

There has never been a more important moment for spiritual leadership and yet pastors face unprecedented challenges. As General McChrystal writes in his book Team of Teams, “In complex environments, resilience often spells success, while even the most brilliantly engineered fixed solutions are often insufficient or counterproductive.”

To thrive in ministry in an age of complexity, churches and pastors must develop the quality of resilience – the ability to adapt and grow in the face of uncertainty, yet retain their underlying identity and character.

Unique Learning Sessions

We have been working hard with Pepperdine University to make this a world-class, unique learning event. You can watch from anywhere or even join in person (Malibu, California in January!).

Part One of the livestream focuses on the State of Faith and Culture, taking a deeper look at the issues contributing to the complexity that faith leaders face today. Part Two hones in on the State of Pastors as they do the hard work of leading in their homes, their churches, and their communities.

Sign up here.

Schedule yourself and your team for this half-day session. Click here for a checklist to help you get ready to host. As the livestream grows closer, you will get access to a facilitation guide designed to spur conversations about how you can apply the research in your context.

It’s all free, thanks to our partner Pepperdine University and the generous support of several organizations.

See you in January!

David Kinnaman

About Barna

Since 1984, Barna Group has conducted more than two million interviews over the course of thousands of studies and has become a go-to source for insights about faith, culture, leadership, vocation and generations. Barna is a private, non-partisan, for-profit organization.

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