There was another follow-up post planned for today. Before I finished it, I did an internet search for blog posts and articles on evangelism. The following article was in the search results. Dr. Stetzer is a talented, prolific writer and some of his books were required reading in my doctoral program. The blog post illustrates many things in the Evangelism Is series.
In the opening paragraphs, evangelism is clearly means soul-winning. Research by Dr. Stetzer and the Barna group is cited and evangelism is used the same way. Dr. Stetzer’s research points to the process of spiritual maturity and its impact on increased soul-winning efforts: a position put forth here in the last few days. You can see most of the article below and a link is provided to the entire article.
Soli Deo Gloria!
The State of Evangelism
I’ve talked about this on many occasions because it is a concern we should all share. Sharing the gospel today may be met with difficulty, but sharing the gospel is nonetheless important.
What is the state of evangelism in the West, particularly in the United States? Are people sharing the gospel on a regular basis or at all? What do the numbers say?
LifeWay Research has conducted some research on evangelism frequency among Protestant churchgoers and believers alike. Additionally, the Barna Group released some research at the end of 2013 on the state of evangelism among born-again evangelicals that may be helpful, particularly when it comes to evangelism frequencies across age groups…
Evangelism and the Millennial: Surging, Sinking, or Staying the Same?
LifeWay Research presented a number of statements on the matter of evangelism and asked respondents to agree, disagree, or choose neither. What we found was notable, but unfortunately not incredibly surprising. Among Protestant churchgoers who believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven, we found that most feel a responsibility to share the gospel and that most even feel comfortable doing so, but very few actually do it.
In our study, we found that 85% of all believers ages 18-29 agree that they have a responsibility to share the gospel with unbelievers, and that 69% of those same people feel comfortable sharing their faith. However, only 25% of them look for ways to share the gospel and only 27% of them intentionally build friendships with unbelievers in order to do so.
Millennials are more likely than other ages likely to feel comfortable sharing Christ, but this doesn’t translate to action as a decidedly lower percentage actually share the gospel.
However, Barna’s findings are a bit different than LifeWay Research’s in at least one major way. Barna’s research returned data signaling a surge of faith sharing among young people.
They found 65% of millennial Christians (those born between 1980 and early 2000s) have shared their faith in the last year. Barna conducted a similar study in 2010, and found that between 2010 and 2013, the number of Milliennial Christians who have evangelized within the last year has increased by nine percent. The only other age group whose rate of evangelism has increased is the 68-and-over age group, who rose from 52% to 53% in three years.
As their report indicated, it is not just the surge, but Millennials are sharing their faith more than any other group:
In fact, in answer to the question of evangelism on the rise or in decline, Millennials are a rare case indeed. While the evangelistic practices of all other generations have either declined or remained static in the past few years, Millennials are the only generation among whom evangelism is significantly on the rise. Their faith-sharing practices have escalated from 56% in 2010 to 65% in 2013.
Not only that, but born again Millennials share their faith more than any other generation today. Nearly two-thirds (65%) have presented the Gospel to another within the past year, in contrast to the national average of about half (52%) of born again Christians.
Here is the difference—we did not find a difference and Millennials were sharing their faith more than others, but our study is different in a few ways. (I won’t list those here lest the post become too long.)
So Where Does Evangelism Thrive?
Generally speaking, the research…shows that a churchgoer’s beliefs, attitude, and actions regarding the sharing of Christ improve over time as they mature as a follower of God.
From the age of 18 to the age of 64, there is a distinct increase in the willingness to share and the act of sharing the gospel. As Christians mature in the faith over time and, perhaps, they become more aware of the brevity of their lives, they grow in the desire to share the gospel and do so as a result. Or, perhaps they know Christ better and feel more inclined to share him more faithfully. We don’t know for sure…
[see balance of article at this link: State of Evangelism]