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Kentucky: not as many "churched" bible beaters as they thought

This report has to make a few fundy hearts in Kentucky sink — they’ve got some recruiting to do. (The Montana Standard):

A new survey commissioned by the Kentucky Baptist Convention shows that about one in three Kentucky adults are ‘‘unchurched,” meaning nearly 1 million residents have no meaningful connection to any of the thousands of churches in this Bible Belt state. The California-based Barna Research Group, which conducted the survey in October, defines the ‘‘unchurched” as those who have not attended services once in a six-month period except for special occasions.

The survey says another 650,000 Kentucky adults, or 21 percent of the population, don’t view themselves as committed to the church they attend. Barna, a prominent Christian research firm, based its data on a telephone survey of 2,175 people and more extensive interviews with those who identified themselves as unchurched. The margin of error was plus or minus 2 percentage points.

The unchurched in the study included atheists and followers of non-Christian religions, but the vast majority considered themselves to be Christians. ‘‘… Most of the unchurched are not opposed to faith, or even to Christ. … But they have tried Christianity and found it wanting,” the report states.

The report was commissioned to better define the challenges that Baptist churches face in trying to reach people with the Christian Gospel, said Dan Garland, leader of the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s Evangelism Growth Team. ‘‘Screaming at the culture is not going to change the culture,” Garland said. ‘‘We’re going to have to understand it … and get involved in offering people help and hope and healing.”

The Barna Research Group says the number of unchurched American adults has nearly doubled to 75 million since 1991.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding