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We noticed a trend. George Barna confirmed it. It's getting harder to reach a live person at the church office. In many cases, it's not even Memorex.

Barna's researchers called 3,764 Protestant churches during weekday business hours. No human contact was made in 40 percent of the churches called, even though multiple calls were placed—as many as 12 per church. And almost half of those churches had no answering machine either.

Try, try again: it takes an average of 2.1 telephone calls to reach a human being during regular business hours. Of the calls placed, only one-third were answered by a real person on the first attempt. For one-tenth of the churches, it took four calls or more to make human contact.

How does your church measure up?

You are more likely to talk to a human being on the first call if you phone:

  • —a mainline church (73%) than an evangelical church (66%);
  • —an independent, fundamentalist church (81%) than a charismatic or Pentecostal church (53%);
  • —a large church (70% for churches with 250+ adult attenders) than a small church (44% for churches with fewer than 100 adult attenders).
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