The Barna Group Expands

The Barna Group is reaching into new directions. From solely conducting quantitative research, The Barna Group will now take on an "overt" leadership role in Christian ministry, according to statement released by George Barna, Founder and President of The Barna Group.

With the new strategy, The Barna Group recently expanded into five divisions: The Barna Research Group, BarnaFilms, BarnaBooks, Josiah Corps, and Transformational Church Network.

Over the past twenty years Barna has conducted hundreds of research studies, provided seminar-based training to leaders of more than 50,000 churches, produced over 60 books and reports and developed an up-to-date website with critical information.

However, they question whether this has "made any difference in people's lives."

One study found that very few churches measure anything beyond attendance, donations, square footage, number of programs, and size of staff, and did not measure impact on people's lives or "life transformation." On-going research shows that churches do not act strategically.

Barna states that the Group's lack of effectiveness due to problems in the Church, had him confounded at the end of 2003. He did not want to give information to "people whose sole interest seemed to be searching for facts that confirmed what they had already chosen to do, or seeking statistical evidence to support their teaching."

After four months of prayer, study, and reflection, changes to the ministry were made.

The company's name went from the Barna Research Group to The Barna Group. The group dramatically curtailed its size, but not its operation. The number of employees decreased from 100 to eight people, and they moved into a "compact" space.

It has also changed its vision from a "do-it-yourself mentality to a partnership-based ministry," now placing their hope in creating "synergy."

In addition, The Barna Group is committed to providing relevant resources to ministries - the "best tools available for fostering true spiritual growth."

In conjunction with its new strategy, The Barna Group has simultaneously launched five separate divisions. The Barna Research Group will continue to provide empirical data and statistics to ministries and churches, but BarnaFilm will provide ministries and churches with the resources to create film and other media.

Like the Research division, BarnaBooks will also focus on providing information to churches. In a strategic partnership with Tyndale House Publishers, the first books will "reveal what is happening in the emerging Church...such as the cyberchurch, house churches, marketplace ministries, and tribal faith experiences."

The fourth new division, Josiah Corps, will "identify" kids between 8 and 12 who have the "calling and the gift to be godly leaders," then train them for 10-15 years for the spiritual battle.

To help with this endeavor, Barna created the division, Transformational Church Network. Through it, partnerships with churches will be maintained.

Barna states, "I am more excited about ministry today than at any time in the past ten years (or more). The first twelve months of The Barna Group has been intense, exhilarating, educational, challenging and fun. We are already beginning to see tremendous returns on our investment and are eager to see what else the Lord has in store for us."

Above all, they pray to help ministries become “even more effective” as they “labor alongside” of them.

“There is a major spiritual revolution brewing in our society. God has already begun to do some amazing and unprecedented things in our nation, and it appears that the next twenty years will introduce ministry approaches and spiritual outcomes that are radically different than that which we have been anticipating.”

Click here to read the full statement from The Barna Group's website.