Most non-Christians Do Not Have Christian Friends
A new study revealed that 20% of non-Christians in America do not have Christian friends. The report from The Center for the Study of Global Christianity included atheists and agnostics. However, if these groups are removed from the study, 60% of non-Christians have no relationships with Christians. The study said, “In one sense this is not surprising, given that many non-religionists, at least in the global North and Latin America, are former Christians.”
For a predominantly Christian nation, the lack of friendships between non-Christian is staggeringly high. One cause could be that Christians typically live in their Christian “bubble” and associate mostly with other Christians. Jeff Christopherson, vice president for the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Missions Board, said, “We hide in our own evangelical ghetto,” he said. “We send our kids to Christian schools, we go to churches that would only be welcoming to people that think like us.”
It is time for us to expand our Christian boundaries. As I stated in my book,
If our discipling potential with others is bound by our current lifestyles, it is time to expand our relationship horizons. It could be that we are neglecting the needs of others. What are your interests? Become involved in activities you enjoy, with the distinct purpose of meeting others in places like health clubs, community sporting clubs, and parent clubs. Volunteer at hospitals, rest homes, or at community events such as car shows, parades, or charity events. These activities bring people together, and provide opportunities for establishing relationships…One of the most intentionally dangerous people I know is a young mother who develops relationships naturally with other mothers she meets at parks or the local preschoolers club. Then she takes time to get to know them and their needs. Every day we come into contact with people who are spiritually hungry and need Jesus.
A good resource for making friends with our neighbors is The Art of Neighboring, by Pathak, Runyon, and Frazee.
What can you do to develop relationships with non-Christians?
A pdf of the original study can be found at Center for the Study of Global Christianity