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3 in 4 Americans Say Church Presence Is Positive

A new survey from the Barna Group shows that most Americans still think churches are an asset to the community around them. The nationwide study shows that three-quarters of U.S. adults believe the presence of a church is “very” (53 percent ) or “somewhat” positive (25 percent) for their community. In contrast, just 5 percent of Americans believe that churches are a somewhat or very negative presence. About one out of six adults (17 percent) are indifferent toward the role of churches. Addressing poverty and helping the poor was the most common top-of-mind response Americans offered as to how churches can positively influence their communities (29 percent). This includes helping the needy, poor and disabled, distributing food and clothing, and assisting the homeless. "Churches are perceived to be an important element of a community, even among the unchurched," said David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group, in the report. "So, although they may be wary of personal involvement, they have an understanding of the service and assistance that churches can provide to their communities."