Most Christians say they’re ready, willing and praying to have conversations about their faith with others, but many admit they haven’t gotten around to actually having those conversations recently.
An Evangelism Explosion study conducted by Lifeway Research found Christians express a willingness and desire to talk to others about their faith, yet few have shared with someone how to become a Christian in the past six months.
“Now, perhaps more than ever, people are open to conversations about faith, yet this study reveals few Christians actually take the opportunity to engage in personal evangelism,” said John Sorensen, president of Evangelism Explosion (EE). “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, which is why we wanted insights on the evangelistic attitudes of Christians. We imagine a world where every believer is a witness for Christ to His glory.”
“Many Christians say they agree sharing their faith is important,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research. “But many also need encouragement and to be shown how to share the good news about Jesus Christ with others.”
In the survey of 1,100 self-identified Christian adults in the U.S., more than 9 in 10 (93%) say they’re at least somewhat open to having a conversation about faith with a friend, and around 4 in 5 (81%) feel similarly about speaking about faith with a stranger. Almost 2 in 3 Christians (64%) say they have prayed at least once in the past month for the salvation of a friend or family member who is not a Christian.
In the past six months, most have spoken about their beliefs with loved ones at least once, including having a conversation about faith (53%) and sharing a story about what God has done in their lives (52%).
However, less than half of self-identified Christians have, at least once in the past six months, shared a Bible verse or Bible story with a non-Christian loved one (46%), invited a non-Christian friend or family member to attend a church service or other program at church (43%) or shared with a non-Christian loved one how to become a Christian (38%).
Far fewer Christians have taken any of those evangelistic steps with a non-Christian they did not know in the past six months: 40% have had a conversation about faith, 39% have shared a story about what God has done in their lives, 36% have shared a Bible verse or story, 34% have invited a stranger to church and 30% have shared how to become a Christian.
“Praying for someone to follow Christ comes more easily than talking with someone about it,” said McConnell. “It isn’t clear if the proverbial cat has the tongue of some Christians or if they’re not connecting with non-Christians in settings where these conversations can take place.”
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.