Barna Group's President David Kinnaman will be taking an extended leave of absence following his wife's death, a report says.
According to a report from The Christian Post, Kinnaman will be taking a few months off of bereavement leave following the death of his wife, Jill.
In the official update which was also shared in a tweet, Kinnaman wrote that he will be taking an extended leave for "the rest of 2020 and into the first month or so of 2021" to grieve his late wife and to take a much needed rest.
Last October 28, Kinnaman's wife, Jill, passed away after a 41-month battle with cancer. She was 46 years old.
Despite all that happened, Kinnaman remembers his wife as a consistent source of "kindness, love and resilience."
It was a difficult loss for Kinnaman and his family. Despite the circumstances of his late wife's illness, their commitment to continue serving the Church and Christian leaders have helped him foster "more patience, empathy and trust in God."
His decision to continue serving in the ministry is another reason why right now, Kinnaman feels it weird to step back from his duties.
"To be honest, it feels weird stepping back, slowing down and resting when there's so much at stake for the Church."
The president of the prominent Christian research group, however, realized 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."
Hi, friends. Here's an update on how my wife's death will impact my role leading @BarnaGroup.
Brief answer: I am sticking around, but taking extended bereavement leave.
I describe this decision and what that means for our mission, team and partners.https://t.co/KmuVS6vH4I
— David Kinnaman (@davidkinnaman) November 23, 2020
Comfort in Jesus
Before his wife's death in October, treatment has been halted for Jill six weeks earlier. David and Jill knew that the time to say goodbye is coming for both of them. It was not easy to do. David and their three children were devastated by the loss. The only comfort they had was that Jill is now with Jesus.
Kinnaman recounts, "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."
In February, Larry and Krista Wolf, who are good friends with the Kinnamans, launched a fundraiser to help the family with Jill's medical expenses. Instead of putting down the page, the couple decided to keep it for a while longer as people are still asking how they can help.
"100% 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."
Barna's president will not be leaving the company for good. Instead, he will just take an extended leave to rest and renew which are both critical to him not just as a father, but also as a Christian leader.
He wrote in his official statement, "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."
In his place, Barna Group's Chief Financial Officer Todd White will become the interim president to take over his duties during his leave of absence.