A new study from the Barna Group has found that Christians are not evangelizing as often as they used to.
The official title of the study is “Sharing Faith is Increasingly Optional to Christians.” The recently-released study is a follow-up on a study conducted back in 1993.
A revealing change in the statistics between 1993 and today was that “In 1993, 89 percent of Christians who had shared their faith agreed this is a responsibility of every Christian. Today, just 64 percent say so—a 25-point drop.”
The way Christians approach evangelism has also changed over the past 25 years.
“The most common approaches, a majority says, are asking questions about the other person’s beliefs and experiences (70 percent) and sharing their faith in the way they live rather than by speaking about it (65 percent),” says the study, which Barna conducted in partnership with Lutheran Hour Ministries. “These were common among Christians in 1993 as well, as the chart shows, but a majority of Christians 25 years ago also reported emphasizing the beneficial aspects of accepting Jesus (78 percent)—a strategy that today is less common (50 percent).
Christians today also more strongly stress the need to have a relationship with a person for evangelism to be effective.
“They are more likely to agree that faith-sharing is only effective when they already have a relationship with the other person (47 percent vs. 37 percent in 1993) and to admit they would avoid a spiritual conversation if they knew their non-Christian friend would reject them (44 percent vs. 33 percent). They are also more likely than Christians in 1993 to say they are unsure whether “most non-Christians have no interest in hearing about Jesus” (28 percent vs. 5 percent).”
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Publication date: May 16, 2018