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Christians Say They’re Seeking but Not Having Evangelistic Conversations

Evangelism opinions

When Christians think about evangelism, they’re thinking about showing love to the other person. Almost 2 in 3 Christians (65%) agree sharing with a nonbeliever how they can become a Christian is the most loving thing they can do for them, including 30% who strongly agree. Around a quarter (23%) disagree.

More than half of self-identified Christians say they are willing (39%) and/or eager (15%) to evangelize. Three in 10 (29%) are neutral, while 18% are reluctant and 11% are indifferent.

Specifically, Christians are more prone to be proactive or reactive in their evangelistic tactics than avoiding it all together. Around 1 in 7 (14%) say they try to bring up faith in conversations with everyone, while more than a quarter (28%) look for natural opportunities to bring up faith. Close to a third of Christians (32%) say they answer faith questions if asked or comment if others bring it up. Around 1 in 5 (21%) say they won’t talk about faith with most people.

More than half of self-identified Christians in the U.S. (58%) say it is easy for them to talk about Jesus with non-Christians, including 23% who say it is very easy. A third (33%) say it is at least somewhat difficult, with 10% saying it is very difficult to share about Christ with those who are not Christians.

For some, evangelism might bring up emotions more closely associated with giving a public speech than having a conversation with a friend. More than 2 in 5 Christians (42%) say sharing with a non-believer how they can become a Christian is scary. Slightly more (46%) disagree.

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When asked how they believe most non-Christians feel about evangelism, Christians are split. More than 1 in 3 (37%) think most of those who are not Christians see it as pushy. Almost a quarter (22%) believe non-Christians are open to it. Similar percentages say those who aren’t Christians view evangelism as worth hearing once (18%), hope-filled (17%) and worth exploring (17%). Fewer think non-Christians believe Christian evangelistic efforts are rude (14%).

According to a 2021 Evangelism Explosion study conducted by Lifeway Research, 51% of Americans, including 60% of the religiously unaffiliated, say they’re curious why people are so devoted to their faith. Two in 3 (66%) also say they are at least open to having a conversation about the Christian faith with a friend.

Still, in the most recent study, 52% of self-identified Christians agree that encouraging someone to change their religious beliefs is offensive and disrespectful, including 20% who strongly agree. Fewer than 2 in 5 (37%) disagree.

“It’s a bold idea to encourage someone to consider converting the center of their life to be Jesus Christ,” said McConnell. “For some Christians, their love for others compels them to suggest this offensive thought. For others, this discourages them from speaking up about what they believe.”