VENTURA, Calif. (AP) -- An organization that phoned 3,764 Protestant congregations to test their availability was unable to establish contact with anyone at 40 percent of them, despite repeated attempts.
Barna Research Group phoned the randomly selected congregations in June and July. Nearly half the churches where no person could be contacted lacked an answering machine. In other cases, voice messages were left unanswered.
''In a world where people are extremely busy and are suspicious of the practical value of churches, they are not likely to make three or four calls to a church before they get to speak to a human being,'' commented head researcher George Barna. ''If churches really want to help people, they have to be accessible,'' he said.
He suggested that small churches use call forwarding to a volunteer ready to answer the phone, or get an answering machine and repeatedly monitor it.
On the Net: www.barna.org
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