By Aaron Earls
Writer, LifeWay Christian Resources
NASHVILLE — The 2019 Discipleship Pathway Assessment study from Nashville-based LifeWay Research found excitement and eagerness about the idea of evangelism, but few Protestant churchgoers actually engaged in the practice on a regular basis.
More than half (55 percent) of those who attend church at least once a month say they have not shared with someone how to become a Christian in the past six months.
“Sharing the good news that Jesus paid for our sins through His death on the cross and rose again to bring us new life is the mission of the church,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research, “but it does not appear to be the priority of churchgoers.”
Evangelism leaders from the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board recently addressed the survey. Full story HERE.
Seeking evangelistic opportunities
A majority of churchgoers (56 percent) say they pray for opportunities to tell others about Jesus at least once a week, with 23 percent praying for such moments every day.
More than a quarter (27 percent) say they rarely or never pray for those opportunities.
Hispanics (36 percent) and African Americans (29 percent) are more likely to offer those prayers every day compared to whites (20 percent) or other ethnicities (17).
Increased church attendance makes it more likely someone has offered evangelistic prayers.
“The task of making disciples of all nations has not been fully embraced in the American church — especially by the majority culture,” said McConnell. “This is in spite of the convenience of having other ethnicities and immigrants from other countries often living in the same neighborhood.”
Missing evangelistic opportunities
Less than half of churchgoers say they have shared with someone in the past six months how to become a Christian (45 percent).
Of those who have spoken to someone about becoming a Christian, most had done so with one or two people (24 percent). Around one in 10 churchgoers (10 percent) average at least one evangelistic conversation a month.
Those 65 and older are the age demographic most likely to say they had no evangelistic conversations in the past six months (62 percent).
“Recently, there has been much discussion about young adults participating less in evangelism. That’s not the case, however,” said McConnell. “In fact, young adult and middle-aged churchgoers are more likely to have shared with someone how to become a Christian in the past six months than older churchgoing adults.”
Hispanics are the ethnic group least likely to say they have not spoken with anyone about becoming a Christian in the last six months (32 percent).
Those who attend a worship service four times a month or more (53 percent) are less likely to say they have had no evangelistic conversations than those who attend less than four times a month (60 percent).
Most churchgoers (55 percent) say they have, however, invited an unchurched person to a church service or program in the past six months.
While 45 percent say they haven’t made any invitation, 31 percent say they invited one or two individuals. B&R