The Most Comprehensive Look at the State of the Church in Barna’s 35-year History

We’re adding new layers of insights to Barna’s historic research to help you see clearly, lead confidently and engage effectively in our complex, disruptive culture. State of the Church gives you a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing the Church and delivers practical solutions for growth and improvement to help your people to flourish and your ministry to thrive.

The project is the first of its kind for Barna. Hear about how State of the Church will benefit you at the free webcast event designed for church leaders and teams. Join David Kinnaman and trusted thought leaders as they reveal:

  • New ways for churches to participate that makes the research more actionable than ever.
  • New metrics that go beyond traditional ways of measuring ministry impact and take the guesswork out of ministry planning.
  • New layers of interactivity and resources to help you lead in the current cultural climate.


Featured Articles


A New Approach to Measure What Matters


In today’s complex, fast-moving culture, information is more important than ever. Unfortunately, traditional church health and growth metrics don’t tell the whole story. You need to know if your people are flourishing and experiencing transformation.

Along with the trends we’ve studied for decades, State of the Church research also shines light into areas like relationships, spiritual, physical, financial and vocational health, giving you new ways to explore the data and consider your context against national norms.


Personal Flourishing and Growth Journeys

Are people in our churches actually growing in their faith? How do we know? What can we do to deepen spiritual engagement and life transformation? State of the Church will look at how people are growing in their faith and offer leaders a framework to facilitate spiritual flourishing in their church.

Organizational Thriving and Best Practices

To help churches be more effective, the study will also explore best practices for transformational ministry, compared to a national baseline of churches, and offer practical solutions to help a church grow and thrive. Toolkits and resources provided by Barna and our key partners will help you take action in your context.

Clear Insights from Data You Can Trust

Releases throughout 2020 offer relevant, reliable data about Americans’ practices and perceptions of faith. Built upon Barna’s decades-long tracking of historic and current perceptions of the Church, State of the Church will provide a current,  comprehensive view of how Americans view faith, religion and the church.


Sign up your team to experience the free webcast event.
April 28, 2020 | 1pm EST

Register Now



Key Findings from State of the Church Research


Church Leaders Share Their Plans for (Digital) Easter 2020

As the U.S. continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic by extending social distancing practices through the end of April, church leaders across the nation are coming to terms with the fact that Easter 2020 is going to look much different than in years past. Over the last two weeks, Barna has been collecting data from church leaders across the country, asking what they plan to do for this year’s Easter services in light of the current crisis.

U.S. Churches Close to the Public: Staff & Congregants Take New Approaches to Work & Community

On Sunday, President Trump announced an extension of nationwide social distancing to April 30. With these federal guidelines in place, many pastors, some of whom were hopeful to be back in their church buildings before the end of April, are now faced with the new reality of not seeing their congregants face-to-face until the month of May, at least. This article explores how church leaders and their congregants are adapting to the closure of their physical spaces of worship and the innovative ideas blossoming around community and connectivity as a result of our new reality, social distancing.

New Barna Surveys Check in on Pastors During COVID-19 Crisis

Nobody could have anticipated the COVID-19 crisis, or the sudden needs it would present to churches. During this unprecedented season of ministry, Barna has begun gathering data on a weekly basis, to offer an up-to-data snapshot of the well-being, challenges and logistical shifts in churches in the U.S. This article, a recap of the first two episodes of the new ChurchPulse Weekly podcast, specifically looks at the well-being of church leaders and their congregants in the in the midst of this global pandemic. .

As Churches Navigate COVID-19, Barna & Gloo Introduce ChurchPulse Weekly

Research shows that people turn to churches for hope and support during times of crisis, but in this current moment of social distancing, church leaders may feel at a loss when it comes to keeping in touch with their congregation and reaching out to their community. In an effort to help serve the Church during this time of unprecedented disruption and as a continued part of our research into the State of the Church 2020, Barna and Gloo have created the ChurchPulse Weekly Crisis Toolkit, a free resource that includes three ways to help pastors see clearly and lead effectively in this time of uncertainty. Staying connected is more crucial now than ever before.

Do Americans Replace Traditional Church with Digital Faith Expressions?

As part of our latest study, the State of the Church 2020 project, we set out to learn how practicing Christians—a group already notably committed to their faith and to attending churches—describe the presence of technology in their faith formation, from weekly sermons to weekday drives.

Signs of Decline & Hope Among Key Metrics of Faith

Barna Group has been gathering survey data on the long-term shifts that have occurred in the United States over the last several decades. In this report, we explore data collected among 96,171 surveys over more than 20 years, giving us powerful insight into the changes happening in terms of faith practice, such as church attendance, Bible-reading and prayer.

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.


Don’t miss the launch event.
April 28, 2020 | 1pm EST

Register Now


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