116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Cedar Rapids may not be as 'Bible-minded” as much of the country, but David Kinnaman doesn't think that means religious Eastern Iowans need to be too concerned.
The 'Cedar Rapids-Waterloo” area was ranked 96 out of 100 for 'Bible-mindedness” in a study released in January by Barna Group, a research firm that focuses on faith and culture.
'Bible-minded,” in the survey, refers to people who reported reading the Bible in the last seven days and who said they strongly agree with the accuracy of the Bible. The study is based on 46,274 telephone and online interviews conducted around the country in a seven-year period, ending in August 2013.
Kinnaman is president of the Barna Group. On Friday, he was in Cedar Rapids as a keynote speaker at a benefit banquet for Isaac Newton Christian Academy.
Before the banquet, he met with a group of area pastors and religious leaders to discuss the study.
'Even in low-ranking cities, it's still a remarkable amount of people who are Christian. Christianity is still very respected,” he said. 'Even in the least Christianized cities, more than half of a population identifies as Christian.”
In the Cedar Rapids area, the study found 17 percent of respondents were 'Bible-minded.”
Kinnaman told the pastors the study divided the country into areas based on Nielsen media market areas. Cedar Rapids' media market area is a 21-county region that includes Linn, Johnson, Black Hawk and Dubuque counties. So the low 'Bible-mindedness” ranking for Cedar Rapids actually includes much of Eastern Iowa.
The same report ranked the Quad Cities area 44 out of 100 and the Des Moines-Ames area 53. Last year's Barna Group study placed Cedar Rapids at 88. Kinnaman said the drop in ranking could be attributed to the fact that more market areas were added to this year's study.
Many of the 19 people who came to the reception said the report surprised them.
'When you think Midwest, you assume we're more Bible-based than we really are, so it was somewhat surprising,” said Dave Dehaan, a pastor at First Assembly in Cedar Rapids.
He and others discussed ways they could respond.
'I'd like to learn how we can be more effective, especially at reaching millenials,” he said.