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User Friendly Churches Paperback – February, 1997

4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 191 pages
  • Publisher: Regal Books (February 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830714731
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830714735
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,703,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

George Barna was raised and educated on the East Coast before moving to California in the early 1980s. He held executive positions in advertising, public policy, political campaigns, and media/marketing research before beginning his own company, the Barna Research Group (now The Barna Group), in 1984. 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 as well as developmental resources and analytic diagnostics. The company has served several hundred parachurch ministries and thousands of Christian churches throughout the country. It has also supplied research to for-profit corporations such as Ford Motor Company, The Walt Disney Company, Visa USA, and Prudential, and has assisted the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army as well.

To date, George Barna has written more than 40 books, predominantly in the areas of leadership, trends, spiritual development, and church health. Included among them are bestsellers such as Revolution, Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions, The Frog in the Kettle, The Power of Vision, and Pagan Christianity? 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, which is accessed by hundreds of thousands of people through his firm's Web site ( 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. In 2009, George initiated Metaformation, a new organization designed to help people maximize their potential. More information about his current projects is available from

Barna 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 currently leads an organic church. He has served 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 in Southern California. He enjoys spending time with his family, writing, reading novels, playing and listening to guitar, relaxing on the beach, visiting bookstores, and eating pizza.

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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 27, 1996
Format: Paperback
Barna studied some of the most successful churches in America (defined as those growing rapidly while having a major impact on the lives of people). What he found provides a new definition of effective church ministry: remaining true to the Gospel while remaining relevant to society. Anyone who thinks "church" has to mean "organs, robes, and cathedrals" will hate this book. Anyone who wants to know how to make church more relevant to Americans' daily lives, without compromising the Gospel message, must read it. This can (and should) change the way you do ministry
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Format: Paperback
Barna comes right out of the block and emphasizes that this book is not about identifying what makes a church grow. He defines successful, user-friendly churches as "a church that is a blessing is changing people's lives by bringing them into a deeper relationship with God, through faith in Christ and the indewelling power of the Holy Spirit." In these churches surveyed, spiritual growth was the ultimate goal.

Barna examines elements of healthy churches such as attitude, prayerfulness, vision, communication, shared excitement and purpose, collective ministry, equipping of the saints and a delegation of serving.

Barna cites a pastor who verballizes one of these elements, "My role is to equip them to minister, then to support them as they are doing it. The paperwork just has to pile up. My primary responsibility is to spend time with people, either equipping them or encouraging them as they are using those gifts." Barna calls this being a "ministry cheerleader."

Barna emphasizes the participation of the church body in the activity of the church. Almost everything that he cites as indicating a user-friendly church involves the body. I think this is the best statement in the book, "To be a servant of Christ means getting in the trenches of ministry and doing what needs to be done to further God's kingdom--using the gifts He has given us. To be part of the church means accepting the responsibility to be a minister on behalf of the church. It also means that the church, usually through discerning leaders, has the responsibility not only to articulate the servant principle but to point out and affirm individual gifts."

For Barna, the ideal pastor is the CEO leader of the church.
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Format: Paperback
This is a very good book. In it, Barna examines growing churches and then extrapolates growth principles that they have in common. Barna warns the greater that to simply copy the methodologies and formats of successful churches without first analyzing one's own culture is to guarantee failure.
Barna refutes to give pat answers to difficult questions. He urges the reader to understand the spiritual principles behind successful churches and then apply them to his or her own unique situation. The emphasis on leadership is superb. No church can grow if the pastor does not understand what it means to be a leader and to lay out a God-given vision for his people. No statement is truer than this: If the people in your church do not seem truly excited or passionate about ministry, he is because they do not have a leader who models those traits for them."
I must confess that I am a real Barna fan and find it rather difficult to find fault with his work. Although at times he can get bogged down in statistics this book is remarkably lucid and worthy of sharing with my lay leadership. It has a clear, concise and limited purpose and Barna fulfills it admirable.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was received and delivered as stated in discription. If you are re-thinking the direction of your church this is a good place to start. George Barna is very good at understanding and writing about all the challenges a church faces today.
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