By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
According to a survey recently conducted by LifeWay Research, six in 10 Americans prefer to talk about politics instead of God. The numbers do improve for evangelical Christians. Research shows that Christians prefer talking about God over politics by a 2-to-1 margin.
Scott McConnell, a member of Hermitage Hills Baptist Church, Hermitage, and the head of LifeWay Research, observes that “people tend to discuss the things that matter most to them. For evangelicals, that is their faith,” he suggested.
But do we (Christians) really talk about our faith as much as we should?
Other than at church and occasionally with friends, my best guess is we don’t talk about our faith nearly as much as we should.
Think about the most recent conversations you’ve had, either with friends or coworkers. If you’re a man, you’ve probably talked about the upcoming SEC football season (not so much if you’re a Gamecock fan), baseball and the pennant race, outdoor sports such as golf, fishing/hunting, or some other sports-related topic.
If you’re a woman, you probably have talked about family (especially children and grandchildren) or where to find the best bargains for clothes or food.
With the November elections around the corner, politics apparently is on the minds of many Americans. And, rightly so. America is at a crossroads. This year’s election will decide the course of our nation for decades to come as several Supreme Court positions are likely to become vacant during the term of the next president of the United States. Whether the Supreme Court continues to make decisions that drastically disregard values and ideals Christians hold dear (after all, they redefined marriage) will be determined by the judges who are appointed.
LifeWay’s research indicates that two-thirds of Americans (64 percent) have had at least three conversations about politics in the last month, compared to only 8 percent who had no political conversations.
By contrast, fewer than half (44 percent) had three or more spiritual conversations in the same time frame with 22 percent who had no spiritual conversations, according to a LifeWay Research news report.
So, who is more likely to talk about their faith? According to the research it is women (51 percent), those who go to church at least once a week (57 percent), and those with evangelical beliefs (63 percent). Men (69 percent) and those who don’t have evangelical beliefs (65 percent) are more likely to discuss politics, research shows.
LifeWay’s latest research project also uncovered some other interesting tidbits of information. One of the most troubling aspects and findings of the survey was revealed “among other findings.”
The research indicates: “About half of churchgoers (49 percent) say their church treats sharing the gospel as extremely urgent (24 percent) or urgent (25 percent).”
That may look good on first reading, but look at the reverse of that statement. Fifty-one percent of churchgoers apparently feel their church does not view sharing the gospel as extremely urgent or urgent. And we wonder why baptisms are declining at an alarming rate and why church attendance has dropped over the past few years.
If any church does not see the urgency for sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, especially in today’s world, the church is wasting everyone’s time. The church might as well be a Sunday morning social club for all the good it is doing.
My prayer and hope is that the research simply captured the views of individual churchgoers who themselves do not see the gospel as urgent or extremely urgent. Regardless, it is apparent that churches need to do a better job of communicating the importance of evangelism and discipleship.
Today, more than ever, we have to be willing to talk about the love of Jesus Christ. We need to live a lifestyle where people see something different in us and want to ask questions as to what that difference is.
What we talk about the most does indicate what means the most to us. Our world needs Jesus maybe as much, if not more, today than ever before in our history. Will the world that does not know Christ hear it from Baptists who profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior or will what they hear from us be our opinions of the political process or how our football team will do this season?
It’s up to each individual. What are you talking to others about?