A new survey gives disturbing results on evangelism in the modern era.
The study, conducted by Lifeway Research and commissioned by Evangelism Explosion, found that while Christians express a willingness and even a desire to share their faith, few have told others how to become believers.
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Let’s explore some of the most startling findings, their implications, and what they mean for the American church:
Less than half have shared Bible content with loved ones
The first statistic that stands out is the proportion of self-identified Christians who have shared a Bible verse or Bible story with a non-Christian loved one in the past six months.
Only 46% shared a verse or story, and 43% invited a non-Christian loved one to church services or a religious program.
Although these proportions are relatively small, the statistic surrounding the sharing of the way of being a believer is even more revealing.
Just under four in 10 shared the message of salvation
When it comes to self-declared Christians sharing how to become a believer, only 38% say they have done so for a friend or family member in the past six months.
While this may sound alarming, there is an important caveat to consider: friends and loved ones stay in our lives for a long time.
Thus, it is possible that believers shared with loved ones at some point before the last six months, although the low proportion is still recorded as a matter of concern worth addressing.
Talking with non-Christians about salvation
Coming out of an era of intense social isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems that Christians are not sharing as fervently as they could with non-Christians they don’t know. personally.
While 40% said they had spoken with these people about faith, only 34% had invited someone they didn’t know to church, and only 30% had discussed becoming a believer.
And 39% shared a story about “what God has done in their life,” according to Lifeway.
Living the Great Commission
This is important because sharing the soul-saving gospel message is a central call for every believer.
Jesus made his command clear to the disciples: They were to go out and spread the gospel throughout the world. This call has continued in the lives of Christians for the past two millennia.
Matthew 28:16-20 (NIV) reads:
“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they adored him; but some doubted. Then Jesus approached them and said to them: “All power has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'”
So when it comes to evangelism, what has Lifeway found? It turns out that 39% of Christians are ready to evangelize and 15% are impatient. While these proportions represent more than half of self-proclaimed believers, the statistics on the other side are deeply concerning.
Three in ten (29%) are neutral, 18% are reluctant and 11% are indifferent, with a total of 58% of self-described Christians remaining neutral or feeling negative about evangelism.
This is concerning, given the clear call we see from Christ in Matthew 28.
A lack of familiarity
The final statistic worth pointing out is that 66% of self-declared Christians say they “don’t know any method to tell others about Jesus.”
Again, given Jesus’ mandate to spread the gospel throughout the world, this is yet another discovery that should spark intense soul-searching among believers.
These statistics paint a shocking picture that should reorient pastors, church leaders and believers.
“Now, perhaps more than ever, people are open to conversations about faith, but this study reveals that few Christians actually take the opportunity to engage in personal evangelism,” said John Sorensen, president. of Evangelism Explosion, in a statement. “Our mission at EE is to equip followers of Jesus to have the confidence to share the gospel naturally, lovingly, and intentionally with family, friends, and yes, even strangers. why we wanted to get a glimpse of the evangelical attitudes of Christians.We imagine a world where every believer is a witness of Christ for his glory.
Lifeway Research executive director Scott McConnell added that while many believers agree that sharing their faith is essential, “many also need encouragement and to be shown how.”
With so many struggling to speak out, fewer are hearing the gospel message. This seems especially relevant in a culture desperate for truth – an ever more secularized civilization in which young people are more disconnected from the faith. Let us continue to pray that our faith leaders and churches will rise up and respond to these spiritual needs.
The survey was conducted among 1,011 American Christians using an online survey.
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