Barna Group President David Kinnaman revealed Monday he would be taking a leave of absence until early 2021 following the death of his wife last month.
Kinnaman’s bereavement for the next few months will require Chief Financial Officer Todd White to take over his duties. While Kinnaman will be taking a much-needed break, he may “pop up here and there to work, as it provides connection and gives me joy.”
“I’ve decided to take a number of months of bereavement leave: to grieve, to serve and love my children (Emily, 21, Annika, 19, and Zack, 16), to read and rest, to paint and work with wood and to allow God to fill me up in the many places I feel hollow and empty,” Kinnaman wrote in his announcement.
“That means I’ll be off the rest of 2020 and into the first month or so of 2021. For the most part… I’ll be out of pocket.”
Kinnaman will also be taking a break from the ChurchPulse Weekly podcast, which he contributes to every so often. Carey Nieuwhof will continue to host the show.
“To be honest, it feels weird stepping back, slowing down and resting when there’s so much at stake for the Church,” Kinnaman went on to say.
“Yet I’ve come to realize with startling clarity that it’s exactly for this reason that rest and renewal are critical to me as a leader and for the long-term health of the company.”
In October, Kinnaman’s wife, Jill, passed away at the age of 46 after battling brain cancer for 41 months. She stopped receiving treatments six weeks prior to her death.
“We all knew that her demise was coming, and we’ve been saying and planning goodbyes for what seems like 41 months, but waking up to her being gone is so very difficult. There are never enough ways or words to say goodbye, for now,” the family said last month.
“So, we are devastated by the loss of her, but we also take great comfort that she’s with Jesus now. A few weeks ago, I told Jill how proud of her I was and how courageous she’d been through 41 months. I told her she could bravely go to the next life when she was ready. We cried as we held each other,” Kinnaman added.
A Go Fund Me account set up in February which so far has collected $71,000 as of Monday will stay open as friends and loved ones look to show their support.
“One hundred percent of the proceeds continue to go to the Kinnaman family to help cover accumulated medical bills, funeral costs, and care for the family and kids during this time,” the family wrote.