The State of the Church Now

How do we care for souls in a new reality?

What can leaders do to effectively disciple people in the digital age?

How can pastors lean in and rise up to the challenges of the current crisis?

In the midst of disruptive and challenging times, discover the major opportunities and obstacles facing Christian leaders. We understand that this cultural moment presents new pressures to leaders like you. How can we lead people to transformation and flourishing in a time of crisis and moment of increased complexity? 

Have a front-row seat to State of the Church 2020 Now, a Barna project in partnership with Gloo that will offer leaders up-to-date culture and faith trends as well as practical insights on how to lead through disruption and complexity.

Every year, Barna trains tens of thousands of leaders through its free webcasts. Gather your whole team virtually to hear how these data-informed insights can transform your ministry.

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Featured Articles

 

A New Approach to Measure What Matters

 

In today’s complex, fast-moving culture, information is more important than ever. In our current reality, as churches are forced out of their buildings and into online relationships with those they serve, we see the need to offer new ways to help leaders leverage technology to stay connected to their people. Join us at the webcast for church leaders on May 20 to learn more about new State of the Church resources and tools that enable you to participate in pastor polls and use customizable check-in assessments for your church.

Along with the trends we’ve studied for decades, State of the Church research also shines light into areas like crisis leadership, digital discipleship and how leaders can be prepared to engage in the present and in the “new normal” ahead, giving you new ways to explore the data and consider your context against national norms.

 

 

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May 20, 2020 | 1pm EST

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Key Findings from State of the Church Research

 

Caring for Souls in a New Reality: A Barna Webcast

On May 20, Barna and project partner Gloo hosted a live webcast to reveal recent findings related to how the COVID-19 crisis has affected the U.S. Church. Barna president David Kinnaman was joined by webcast cohosts Carey Nieuwhof and Nicole Martin. Together, alongside expert guests and fellow thought leaders, the hosts presented findings related to human flourishing, organizational thriving and effective leadership, primarily focusing on three things church leaders can do as they care for the souls entrusted to their leadership: reset, refocus and restore.

COVID-19 Conversations: Many Pastors Are Tired, Overwhelmed and Lonely

Recent ChurchPulse Weekly questions asked of Barna’s pastor panel included how church leaders are personally feeling right now in terms of their well-being, mental health, calling and following government guidelines for reopening their churches, the responses of which we’ll summarize in this article.

Five Things We've Learned During the COVID-19 Crisis

In a time of isolation and unprecedented change, the well-being of pastors and their people has been at the forefront of Barna’s research. In this article, we’ll take a look at some trends that have emerged from the weekly pastor panel surveys, as well as recent data about practicing Christians’ well-being—relational, emotional and mental. These research findings and many more will be discussed even further at Barna’s State of the Church webcast on May 20 at 1pm ET, a free event for church leaders and their teams to join and learn more about the State of the Church at the beginning of our new decade.

30% of Pastors Are Ready to Resume Physical Worship Services But Others Remain Uncertain

Each Monday, on the ChurchPulse Weekly podcast, Carey Nieuwhof and David Kinnaman, along with expert guests, discuss the findings from the most recent research, offering insight into the current moment as well as the coming days. This week, Nieuwhof and Kinnaman were joined on the live broadcast by Thom Rainer and Myron Pierce to discuss how the COVID-19 crisis has impacted average churches across the U.S., offering advice to both pastors who want to reopen their churches and leaders who are still leaning into digital discipleship for the time being.

COVID-19 Conversations: What Will Be the New Normal for the Church?

For the past six weeks, Barna has been checking in on the state of U.S. pastors through a national pastor panel, gathering data on how church leaders and their congregations are faring in light of the current pandemic. Each Monday, on the ChurchPulse Weekly podcast, Carey Nieuwhof and David Kinnaman, along with expert guests, discuss the findings from the most recent research, offering insight into the current moment as well as the coming days. This week, Nieuwhof took some time to chat with pastor, author and culture expert Mark Sayers about what a “new normal” for the Church might look like.

Pastors Share Hopes for the Church’s Future After COVID-19

For the past six weeks, Barna has been checking in on the state of U.S. pastors through a national pastor panel, gathering data on how church leaders and their congregations are faring in light of the current pandemic. This week on ChurchPulse Weekly podcast, hosts Nieuwhof and Kinnaman were joined by fellow faith leaders Mike Todd, Jo Saxton and Skye Jethani to discuss the importance of authenticity, how churches plan to restructure after the pandemic is over and what pastors say is their greatest hope for the Church after COVID-19.

Measure What Matters: Faith Leaders Share How to Gauge Digital Engagement

Over the last four weeks, Barna has been checking in weekly on the state of pastors, their families and their congregants in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis through national pastor panel surveys. In addition to these weekly check-ins, each Monday, Carey Nieuwhof and David Kinnaman, accompanied by expert guests and fellow church leaders, have presented and commented on the survey findings during a live broadcast of the ChurchPulse Weekly podcast. In this article, we’ll take a look at the trends we’ve consistently tracked over the last month—virtual attendance and online giving—as well as whether or not churches are currently serving their communities and what metrics pastors are using to measure digital engagement during this time of social distancing. 

The Uncertain Digital & Physical Realities of Churches

Over the years, Barna has had several opportunities to research practicalities and perceptions of where American Christians come together. In this article, we’ll summarize how we’ve built an understanding of church buildings and look toward the future of worship spaces.

Well-Being, Attendance, Giving: An Update on Current Church Trends

Over the last four weeks, Barna has been checking in weekly on the state of pastors, their families and their congregants in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis through national pastor panel surveys. In addition to these weekly check-ins, each Monday, Carey Nieuwhoff and David Kinnaman, often accompanied by expert guests and fellow church leaders, have presented and commented on the survey findings during a live broadcast of the ChurchPulse Weekly podcast. In this article, we’ll take a look at the trends we’ve consistently tracked over the last month—the well-being of pastors and their people, when pastors believe they can return to worship in their usual location and the state of virtual attendance and online giving.

Weekly Services Are Now Largely Online for Adults—But What About Kids?

Curious to know what church leaders are doing for their younger congregants, Barna reached out to pastors during a weekly check in. The findings from this survey were broadcast live on the ChurchPulse Weekly podcast on Monday, April 6th. You can listen to the most recent episode here or listen in wherever you get your podcasts on Thursday, April 9th.

29% of Churches Have Stopped Offering Communion During Crisis

As Easter Sunday draws near, a myriad of holy week traditions come to mind, one of which is partaking of the eucharist. So, are church leaders offering communion while social distancing guidelines are in place and churches are not meeting in person? In this article, we’ll take a look at recent Barna data to shed light on this question.

Current Trends in Virtual Attendance & Weekly Giving Amid COVID-19

Over the last three weeks, Barna and Gloo have made a continued effort to check in on U.S. church leaders in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each week on Monday at 3PM EST, Carey Nieuwhof and David Kinnaman have shared recent pastor panel data, illuminating current trends and findings in the ChurchPulse Weekly podcast, often hosting faith leaders and experts onto the broadcast to offer valuable insight for the current moment and coming days. In this article, we’ll take a quick look at the current well-being of pastors and their congregants, as well as review how other church logistics, such as attendance and giving, are faring in light of the crisis.

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.
May 20, 2020 | 1pm EST

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