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ChurchPulse Weekly Conversations: Mark Sayers on Faith During Crisis

With the number of U.S. COVID cases once again on the rise as colder weather sets in and political polarization still palpable across the nation following the recent presidential election, pastors and their people may feel just as uncertain now as they did at the start of the pandemic seven months ago. In recent ChurchPulse Weekly episodes, host Carey Nieuwhof and guest Mark Sayers—cultural commentator, writer, speaker and pastor—discuss faith, safety and opportunity during crisis.

ChurchPulse Weekly Conversations: Aaron McRae and Brian Wurzell on Hybrid Christmas

Back in 2019, Aaron McRae and Brian Wurzell of Hillside Church were hoping they’d explore digital outreach more in 2020. When the pandemic hit, they realized those plans would have to accelerate. Now, months later, they’ve seen unexpected fruitfulness, with over a million views on their YouTube—and they’re gearing up for Christmas. On the most recent ChurchPulse Weekly episode, David Kinnaman summarizes Barna’s latest research, and podcast host Carey Nieuwhof sits down with McRae and Wurzell to discuss how the Church can minister during this year’s disrupted holiday season.

ChurchPulse Weekly Conversations: Alejandro Reyes and Haley Veturis on Digital Church

On the most recent ChurchPulse Weekly episode, podcast hosts Nieuwhof and Kinnaman sit down with Alejandro Reyes, CEO of Digital Napkin and executive pastor at New Vintage Church, and Haley Veturis, director of digital engagement at Bayside Church, to talk about digital outreach in the church.

ChurchPulse Weekly Conversations: Christopher Harris & Jim Sheppard on Financial Health in the Church

On ChurchPulseWeekly, Carey Nieuwhof and David Kinnaman sit down with Christopher Harris and Jim Sheppard to discuss how churches can make healthy financial choices in 2020.

ChurchPulse Weekly Conversations: Pete Scazzero on Rhythms for Lives in Crisis

On the most recent ChurchPulse Weekly episode, podcast hosts Carey Nieuwhof and David Kinnaman sat down with Pete Scazzero, founder of the Emotionally Healthy Discipleship ministry, to discuss how pastors and churches can respond to the widespread wounds of our traumatized world.

ChurchPulse Weekly Conversations: A Panel on Pandemic Church Planting

Church leaders are balancing between old and new normals. While leaders recognize that the pandemic isn’t going away any time soon, churches still have hope that the old normal will return. This week, podcast hosts Carey Nieuwhof and David Kinnaman talk to three pastors on church planting in crisis: Dave Ferguson, Roy Helu Jr., and Glenn Lawson.

ChurchPulse Weekly Conversations: Andy Crouch on Caring for Your Heart, Soul, Mind & Strength

Carey Nieuwhof and David Kinnaman invite Andy Crouch to join them for the most recent ChurchPulse Weekly episode. Crouch, author of The Tech-Wise Family, speaker and partner for theology and culture at Praxis Labs, shares his thoughts on the pandemic, and what pastors and their people can be doing to care for the heart, soul, mind and strength right now.

ChurchPulse Weekly Conversations: Andy Stanley on Offering Clarity During Uncertainty

Earlier this year, in the midst of the pandemic, communicator, author and pastor of North Point Ministries, Andy Stanley, made national news when he announced that his church would remain closed to the public through the end of 2020, a decision many church leaders have been unwilling to make. On the most recent ChurchPulse Weekly episode, podcasts hosts Nieuwhof and Kinnaman sit down with Stanley to discuss how he and his team went about making the decision to keep their church buildings closed through the end of the year and what it takes to lead well in the midst of uncertainty.

ChurchPulse Weekly Podcast: Mark Batterson on Pastoring in a Digital Age, Part 2

Last week, podcast hosts Carey Nieuwhof and David Kinnaman sat down with Mark Batterson, lead pastor of National Communitny Church in Washington, DC, to discuss ministry in the current digital era. While the COVID-19 crisis has forced many churches to take their weekly outreach online because of social distancing, the ChurchPulse Weekly hosts and guest also discussed how harnessing the internet for ministerial purposes was a growing need, even before the pandemic. This week’s episode is a continuation of last week’s conversation between Nieuwhof, Kinnaman and Batterson, and covers topics such as next gen ministry, city-wide outreach and the importance of remembering to be kingdom minded.

ChurchPulse Weekly Podcast: Mark Batterson on Pastoring in a Digital Age, Part 1

In the most recent ChurchPulse Weekly episode, podcast hosts Carey Nieuwhof and David Kinnaman are joined by Mark Batterson, lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington D.C., to discuss pastoring in the digital age.

ChurchPulse Weekly Podcast: Leslie Mack and Shane Sanchez on Student Ministry

Just a few weeks ago, nearly half of U.S. pastors (47%) shared that one of the greatest challenges they’re facing at this moment is ministry to children and youth. This week, podcast hosts Carey Nieuwhof and David Kinnaman drill deeper into this stat with guest panelists Leslie Mack and Shane Sanchez, seeking to offer clarity and direction to leaders who are struggling with next gen ministry.

COVID-19 Conversations: Kara Powell on Innovative Youth Ministry

Over the past few months, pastors and parents alike have expressed the struggle they face when it comes to ministering to children and youth in a time of social distancing. In a recent ChurchPulse Weekly episode, hosts Carey Nieuwhof and David Kinnaman are joined by Kara Powell, executive director of the Fuller Youth Institute, to discuss the unique challenges pastors, parents and teens are facing in the current moment.

COVID-19 Conversations: Jon Tyson on the Tensions of Online Ministry

As summer comes to a close, the pandemic continues to grip the United States, forcing pastors to consider what it means to lead online or hybrid church services into the fall of 2020.In this week’s episode, Jon Tyson, author and lead pastor of Church of the City, New York, joins podcast hosts Carey Nieuwhof and David Kinnaman to comment on real time data on the tensions pastor feel when it comes to leading in the current moment.

COVID-19 Conversations: Nona Jones on Digital and Social Ministry

In the most recent ChurchPulse Weekly episode, hosts Carey Nieuwhof and David Kinnaman are joined by Nona Jones, head of Faith-Based Partnerships at Facebook, author, speaker and pastor, along with her husband Tim, at Open Door Ministries in Gainesville, Florida. Jones, a previous ChurchPulse Weekly guest, shares ways pastors can increase their digital and social ministry to foster meaningful relationships with their people in this continued age of social distancing.

Christian Millennials Are Most Likely Generation to Lean Toward Charismatic Worship

One aspect of the “new Sunday morning” that has largely been impacted by social distancing guidelines is group expressions of worship, like corporate singing or taking communion. This article takes a look at some pre-COVID data to illuminate the worship styles and preferences of believers, noting mainline Protestants' desire for liturgical worship, Millennials' leanings toward weekly charismatic faith expressions, and more.

COVID-19 Conversations: Derwin Gray and Darryn Scheske on Race and Reopening

National conversations this summer have largely remained focused on racial tensions in the U.S. and the increase of COVID-19 cases across the country. In a recent ChurchPulse Weekly episode, hosts Carey Nieuwhof and David Kinnaman sit down with pastors Derwin Gray (Transformation Church in Charlotte, NC) and Darryn Scheske (Heartland Church in Indianapolis, IN) to discuss issues of race and faith as well as their plans for keeping their churches closed for in-person worship during this season of disruption.

One in Three Practicing Christians Has Stopped Attending Church During COVID-19

Just a month ago, we revealed recent findings on The New Sunday Morning, highlighting trends in attendance and online engagement among three types of churchgoers in this new era of digital church: Christians who streamed their pre-COVID church online, Christians who streamed a different church online and Christians who stopped attending church altogether. In this article, we’ll take closer look at each of these three groups of Christians, studying findings on generational, flourishing and emotional trends among each.

COVID-19 Conversations: Scott Sauls on Juggling In-Person Worship & Online Engagement

With COVID-19 cases rising across the nation, ChurchPulse Weekly podcast hosts Nieuwhof and Kinnaman look at tracking data on the pandemic to see how the health crisis is currently affecting pastors and their congregants. Scott Sauls, senior pastor at Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, TN joins the conversation to discuss reopening, in-person worship precautions and ongoing digital engagement.

Conversations on Race and the Church: A Call to Action, Part 2

Recent Barna data show that only 29 percent of U.S. Protestant pastors say their church is actively involved in addressing racism or racial inequality. Last week’s ChurchPulse Weekly episode found hosts Carey Nieuwhof and David Kinnaman beginning a conversation about race and the Church with podcast guests Albert Tate, lead pastor of Fellowship Monrovia (California), and Rev. Dr. Nicole Martin, Executive Director of Healing and Trauma at American Bible Society—a conversation that was continued this week.

How COVID-19 Has Impacted the Black Church

COVID-19 has already influenced the future trajectories of businesses and organizations—and the Black Church is no exception. Recent data show that over nine in 10 Black Church churchgoers (92%)—that is, attendees of primary Black Protestant denominations who have been to church at least once within the past six months—agree that their church responded well to the pandemic.

Conversations on Race and the Church: A Call to Action, Part 1

Over the last few weeks, COVID-related news has fallen to the wayside as stories covering racial tensions in the U.S. have dominated headlines. The current national discussion has highlighted stark contrasts and divisions in our nation, in government, communities, friends and even family—and the Church is no exception. Data show that church leaders express different levels of confidence and comfort when it comes to addressing racism from the pulpit, but now is a time to speak out against injustice, not be silent.

COVID-19 Conversations: Pastors Share on Family Time and Reopening Church

In this week’s ChurchPulse Weekly episode, podcast hosts Carey Nieuwhof and David Kinnaman chat with Jennie and Levi Lusko about addressing racial justice from the pulpit and as a family, how the current moment provides churches and families the chance to reboot and keeping the church doors closed even after being permitted to reopen.

COVID-19 Conversations: 5 Things to Consider About the Future of Kids' Ministry

In the most recent ChurchPulse Weekly episode, hosts Nieuwhof and Kinnaman discuss the pandemic’s impact on kids’ ministry with Frank and Jessica Bealer. Have churches done a good job keeping children and youth programs running during social distancing? What does the future of kids’ ministry look like as we reenter church? This article takes a look at five things church leaders should keep in mind when it comes to children’s ministry in the current moment.

What Research Has Revealed About the New Sunday Morning

Over the last few months, Barna has done extensive research on the digital church trends that have surfaced as a result of COVID-19, exploring new data on “worship shifting” as well as the uncertain digital and physical realities of churches. Now, three months into America’s fight against the pandemic and with some churches once again able to welcome members back into their physical buildings for worship, we’re curious to explore what new trends have emerged as a result of social distancing.

Church Leaders Share on Welcoming Congregants Back for In-Person Worship

As the United States begins to reopen cities one phase at a time, church leaders are facing a new challenge which poses many questions, including should we reopen, and if so, how? While an ease of social distancing guidelines in certain areas allows congregants to once again gather for worship in their usual church building, are people ready to come back for Sunday services?

COVID-19 Conversations: Three Questions for Church Leaders to Ask Before Reopening

As more areas of the U.S. work through the phases of reopening following the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, churches are faced with the weighty questions of whether to open their doors and, if so, how to maintain safe social distancing while still welcoming people back into their regular locations.

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.

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