Born in New York City, George Barna grew up primarily in Princeton, New Jersey, and later worked in the Massachusetts state legislature and as a pollster and a campaign manager. Introduced to Jesus Christ during his grad school years, he moved to California, where he worked in media research and then as an executive in an advertising agency. George and his wife, Nancy, founded the Barna Research Group in 1984. In 2004, he re-engineered the for-profit corporation into The Barna Group, of which he is the Directing Leader. The firm analyzes American culture and creates resources and experiences designed to facilitate moral and spiritual transformation. Located in Ventura, California, The Barna Group provides primary research (through its Barna Research Group division); musical, visual, and digital media (through BarnaFilms); printed resources (BarnaBooks); spiritual and leadership development for young people (The Josiah Corps); and church enhancement (Transformational Church Network).
The Barna Research division has served several hundred parachurch ministries and thousands of Christian churches throughout the country. It has conducted research for numerous parachurch organizations, such as the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association; World Vision; American Bible Society; Campus Crusade for Christ; Thomas Nelson Publishers; Zondervan; Tyndale House Publishers; EMI; Compassion International; Trinity Broadcasting Network; Strang Communications; North American Missions Board; Prison Fellowship; Youth for Christ; Josh McDowell Ministries; various denominations; and many other ministries. It has studied, consulted, and provided research to churches as varied as Willow Creek Community Church, Catholic parishes, and church start-ups. It has also supplied research to for-profit corporations such as Ford Motor Company, Walt Disney Company, Visa USA, and Prudential, as well as assisting the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army.
To date, Barna has written more than 40 books, predominantly in the areas of leadership, trends, spiritual development, and church health. Included among them are best sellers such as Revolution, Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions, The Frog in the Kettle, The Power of Vision, and User Friendly Churches. Several of his books have received national awards. He has also written for numerous periodicals and has published various syndicated reports on topics related to faith and lifestyle. He also writes a bimonthly research report, The Barna Update, that is accessed by hundreds of thousands of people through his firm's Web site (www.barna.org). His work is frequently cited as an authoritative source by the media. He has been hailed as "the most quoted person in the Christian Church today" and is counted among its most influential leaders.
Many people know Barna from his intensive, research-based seminars for church leaders. He is a popular speaker at ministry conferences around the world and has taught at several universities and seminaries. He has served as a pastor of a large, multiethnic church, has been involved in several church plants, and has been on the board of directors of various organizations.
After graduating summa cum laude from Boston College, Barna earned two master's degrees from Rutgers University. At Rutgers, he was awarded the Eagleton Fellowship. He also received a doctorate from Dallas Baptist University. He lives with his wife and their three daughters (Samantha, Corban, and Christine) in Southern California. He enjoys spending time with his family, writing, reading novels, playing basketball and guitar, relaxing on the beach, visiting bookstores, and eating pizza.
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