Personal Evangelism in the U.S.
A recent study conducted by the Barna Research group of 2,083 adults revealed some fascinating trends in evangelism. Most (73%) Christians agree that they have a responsibility to share their faith, but only 52 percent put this belief into practice.
Income plays a part in the evangelism practices of Christians. Low-income people (those earning 39,000 or less in this study) evangelize the most, at 57 percent. 52 percent of upper-income people actively evangelize others. The income group that evangelizes the least is middle-income, at 37 percent. And the percentage of middle-income people who evangelize shrank from 51 to 37 percent from 2010 to 2013. Upper-income people are on par with the national average.
Age is also a factor in evangelism. Millennials evangelize more than any other age group. 65 percent of emerging adults evangelized someone in 2013. And the percentage of Millennials who evangelize has risen 9 percent since 2010.
In contrast, only 48 percent of Boomers (born between 46 and 1964) and 49 percent of Busters (people in their 30’s and 40’s) evangelize others. This is a significantly lower percentage for both generations of people than in the past. Those who are 68 years old or older have remained fairly steady over the past few decades at 53 percent.
What conclusions can be drawn from this study?
- There is a disconnect between the understanding and practice of evangelism. Although this may be an age old problem, it is a reminder that people may need a little nudge. One potential remedy is to increase our teaching and one-on-one coaching with Jesus followers.
- Evangelism is increasing for Millennials. This disproves the common belief that Millennials are more interested in social justice than evangelism. We should not underestimate the value of Millennials. They are the least “churched” group, but those who follow Jesus are perhaps more committed to their calling. We should equip them for evangelism and encourage their zeal.
- Evangelism for middle-income and middle-age people is declining. These trends raised many questions. For whatever reason, we may have ignored people in these income and age groups. Without conjecturing all the answers, it seems that the critical thing is to emphasize evangelism in our preaching and teaching, and to challenge them to “live out” their Christian lives.
What else would you add?