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The Open Generation

Barna & Way Forth: Equipping Church & Ministry Leaders Around the World


The Open Generation is a landmark international research study by Barna, aimed at understanding the viewpoints of teenagers worldwide on Jesus, the Bible, and justice. The study, which included 25,000+ interviews with teenagers across 26 countries, was Barna’s largest most complex initiative in it’s 38-year history.


Executing such a large-scale project posed significant logistical challenges for Barna, particularly in terms of project management and partner coordination. With a small internal team, they lacked the capacity to manage the project's complexity and diverse range of partner organizations effectively.


Barna required external support to come alongside their project management team to manage the Open Generation project efficiently. Way Forth’s contribution included


  • overseeing deliverable timelines

  • managing partner relationships

  • coordinating PR efforts

  • ensuring effective communication both internally and with external stakeholders, and

  • ensuring Barna delivered all of the criteria specified in agreements they had with seven partners.


In response to Barna's requirements, Way Forth Collective was engaged to provide comprehensive project management support. Once planning was complete, Way Forths’ focus switched to stakeholder management and developing and executing on the project communication strategy. This involved conducting regular team meetings, overseeing project strategy, coordinating with internal Barna project managers, and facilitating communication with partners and stakeholders.


By partnering with Way Forth, Barna was able to navigate the complexities of the Open Generation project successfully. Way Forth’s support enabled Barna's internal team to focus on core responsibilities while ensuring the initiative progressed smoothly.


Ultimately, this collaboration facilitated the publishing of the Open Generation study in 2022, including three volumes, 26 country-focused reports, three webcasts, a website, and a study focused on vulnerable youth.


Even today, ministry and church leaders around the world are using the Open Generation’s valuable insights to shape and guide their ministry to youth.

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