More than fifty percent of Protestant church attendees have admitted to not engaging in evangelism in the past 6 months, according to a recently released report by LifeWay Research. When asked how many times they shared with someone “how to become a Christian,” 55% of respondents answered zero. 24% of respondents said that they had shared how to become a Christian to someone 1-2 times, 12% responded 3-5 times, 5% said 6-10 times, 1% said 11-15 times, and 3% reported 16 times or more. Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research, said that evangelism “does not appear to be the priority of churchgoers.”
“The task of making disciples of all nations has not been fully embraced in the American church, especially by the majority culture,” stated McConnell. “This is in spite of the convenience of having other ethnicities and immigrants from other countries often living in the same neighbourhood.” Data for the LifeWay report came from an online survey of 2,500 Protestant churchgoers with a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. Although the report found less than half had engaged in evangelism in the past six months, it also found that most respondents had invited an unchurched person to worship in the past six months.
Among ethnic groups surveyed, Hispanic respondents were the most likely to have talked to someone about how to become a Christian within the past six months, with only 32% reporting that they had not done so. Hispanic churchgoers were also the ethnic group most likely to have invited someone to church, with 71% of Hispanic respondents saying they had done so. LifeWay also found that respondents aged 65 and over were the least likely to have had no evangelistic conversations within the last half year. “Recently, there has been much discussion about young adults participating less in evangelism. That’s not the case, however,” noted McConnell.
“In fact, young adult and middle-aged churchgoers are more likely to have shared with someone how to become a Christian in the past six months than older churchgoing adults.” In February, the Barna Group released a report commissioned by Alpha USA indicating that nearly half of Millennial-aged Christians believed evangelizing was wrong. “Almost half of Millennials (47%) agree at least somewhat that it is wrong to share one’s personal beliefs with someone of a different faith in hopes that they will one day share the same faith. This is compared to a little over 27% of Gen X, 19% of Boomers and 20% of Elders,” according to the Barna report.
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