The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Who's covering the phone?

If you think it's difficult to catch someone at home nowadays, try finding someone to answer the church phone.

Of 3,400 Protestant churches phoned in December by the Barna Research Group, a person couldn't be reached at 55 percent; 19 percent had neither a person nor an answering machine.

Barna called each randomly selected church, including ELCA congregations, five times during business hours over two weeks.

"Busy schedules, competitiveness and questions about the user-friendly quotient of churches make it increasingly unlikely that consumers ... will endure the frustration of difficult communication to pursue a church," says George Barna, research president.

A highly unscientific survey of 14 randomly selected ELCA congregations by The Lutheran found seven answering machines, two unanswered phones and five humans. Good for you: Betty in Bowie, Md.; Marjorie in Joplin, Miss.; Pastor Tim in Wausau, Wis.; Pastor Lldiko in Gonzalez, Texas; and Marilyn in Everly, Iowa.


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February issue


Embracing diversity