When the coronavirus crisis escalated to a pandemic, “… Everything changed for everyone,” said Barna Group President David Kinnaman in a news release distributed Monday. The challenging disruptions associated with the global COVID-19 outbreak prompted the Barna Group to immediately adjust its plans to help support Christian leaders and their churches deal with the effects of the crisis.
The release announced Monday’s immediate launch of a free toolkit, the ChurchPulse Weekly, described as a “comprehensive offering” that “is part of Barna's State of the Church 2020 research effort.” Barna, based in Ventura, Calif., specializes in research about faith and culture, leadership and vocation, and generations.
“We were already building these research tools before the coronavirus hit,” Kinnaman said in the release. “… We've pivoted to make these tools even more helpful to help church leaders navigate this major crisis in more effective ways.
"We'd already committed this year to help the church flourish and thrive in uncertain cultural times -- we just couldn't have anticipated the needs of the church amid COVID-19,” said Kinnaman. “We have access to resources that could benefit churches during social distancing, and so, nothing made more sense than to pivot our regularly scheduled plans for March and dive in on how we can encourage and help the church succeed through the coming months."
The release said that on Monday Kinnaman held the first of a series of planned weekly video discussions which will be published later in the week as the ChurchPulse Weekly podcast. The podcast will include discussions on research findings with author, speaker and leadership podcaster Carey Nieuwhof, founding pastor of Connexus Church, based in Barrie, Ontario.
In addition to relevant research findings, the release said, “the ChurchPulse Weekly podcast will explore topics relevant to leaders during the pandemic, such as digital disruption of the church, how to care for the most vulnerable members of your congregation, weathering financial unknowns and long-term economic impact of COVID-19, and what an ‘online Easter’ might look like.”
The release said Kinnaman and Nieuwhof “believe this discussion will help church leaders think through some of the most significant challenges church leaders are facing today with hope, wisdom and tactical next steps.”
Also available “for the first time ever,” the release said, Barna is making available “a new, free assessment platform, the Barna ChurchPulse, for churches to access tailored data insights on their own church community.” Data used by the assessment tool, the release said, comes out of Barna’s “State of the Church 2020 initiative, its most in-depth and extensive research project to date. The study will look at more than 30 years of collected data on the state of the Church and include updated insights for the year.”
Barna partnered with Gloo, which describes itself as “an identity and infrastructure provider” specializing in churches and non-profits, to develop the digital product.
For more information and to get involved, visit www.churchpulseweekly.com.
Photo courtesy: ©Sparrow Stock
Tim Tune is a freelance journalist based in Fort Worth, Texas. His work has been published by Baptist Press, as well as the Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Business Press, Arlington Today magazine and other North Texas publications.