Barna relaunches State of the Church survey in a ‘personalized’ version

Inside a church
Parishioners sitting on church pews as seen from above. |

In this new decade of “cultural, digital and spiritual disruption,” the evangelical Christian polling firm Barna Group is relaunching its State of the Church survey report after a gap of 10 years of its public release, and using new technology to help churches personalize the insights, beginning with the 2020 report, the group announced.

The upcoming State of the Church 2020 survey “will be the most in-depth and comprehensive study in Barna’s 35-year history,” Barna said in a statement.

Barna President David Kinnaman said the relaunch is being done “in a way we’ve never done it before.”

The project will combine updated research and “a brand-new technology,” Barna said, adding that it has tracked State of the Church survey data on an annual basis for 35 years, but the public release of the survey was discontinued in 2010. “The new research will analyze previous tracked research as well as the new 2020 survey findings.”

California-based Barna, which focuses on the intersection of faith and culture, also said it has partnered with a technology company, Gloo, “to launch a new, free and secure church assessment, the Barna ChurchPulse.”

“Through the State of the Church 2020 survey, we will unlock the big picture and frame the most important challenges and opportunities for pastors and Christian leaders. But then, for the first time ever, we have the ability to personalize those insights for each and every church through the Barna ChurchPulse,” said Barna, which has conducted more than one million interviews over the course of hundreds of studies, according to its website.

The new assessment will provide access to “tailored, impactful data” about “churches and their people” in a secure format. “Church leaders will have access to metrics on their organization that expands way beyond giving (or tithing) statements and attendance records, which Barna research shows are the most common data points accessible to pastors. These alone leave many gaps for pastors who want to analyze the growth, health and impact of their organization.”

The customized information in the survey report will focus on two key metric areas, “Flourishing People” and “Thriving Churches,” to explain a church’s current strengths and opportunities. The individualized assessment will demonstrate how well a church’s people are doing across many dimensions of life and the health and vitality of the church as an organization.

Barna has been working on the technology for a decade to help “support this important project and our friends at Barna Group,” Scott Beck, CEO and co-founder of Gloo, was quoted as saying. “We’ve seen first-hand just how powerful the right platform and the right tools can be when it comes to getting leaders on the same page.”

“This is a new decade and a time of significant cultural, digital and spiritual disruption,” Kinnaman, said. “We’re committed to help serve the Church by preparing pastors and leaders to lead faithfully through it all.”

Barna has also “served mainstream business and non-profit leaders at organizations like Sony, Walden Media, Easter Seals, CARE, the ONE Campaign, the Humane Society, the Gates Foundation, and NBC Universal,” the group says on its website.

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