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88% of Christians share their faith online through personal posts: Report

Technology and rapid cultural shifts may have altered the face of evangelism, but the Great Commission remains, says Barna.

With the ubiquitous use of social media and mobile devices, the way we communicate has evolved—and, inevitably, so has the way we talk about faith. Nearly three in 10 Christians today have shared their faith with non-believing friends and acquaintances on social media.

This is according to a new report produced Tuesday by Barna, in partnership with Lutheran Hour Ministries. Barna asked adults about how they discuss spirituality online. Through posts, comments and profiles, many Christians believe that technology and digital interactions have made evangelism easier: The market research firm specializing in studying the religious beliefs and behavior found that three in 10 (28%) share their faith via social media, and almost six in 10 (58%) non-Christians say someone has shared their faith with them through Facebook.

Still, spiritual conversations are fraught in a digital age, and younger generations are among the most cautious about engaging.

Other findings from the report included 30 percent of Christian respondents saying that they’re equally likely to share their faith online or in-person, 44 percent saying that technology has changed how they share their faith, and 88 percent saying they share their faith online through personal posts.

In recent years, many Uganda churches have looked more to using the internet for evangelism, especially as social media becomes an increasing presence in people’s lives. This innovative idea, critics project, might be hampered by the recent social media tax imposed by government

Local media reported that in the Budget for the financial year 2018/2019, the government announced that “it will charge those using over the top services or sites that offer voice and messaging over the internet, 200 shillings daily.”

In his letter directing the Uganda Revenue Authority and Ministry of Finance to tax social media, NTV Uganda reported, President Museveni argued that most of the people using it are rumour mongers. He, however, promised to exempt those using it for educational purposes.

Below is an infographic excerpted from Spiritual Conversations in the Digital Age.

 

About the Research

The primary source of data in this report is a survey of 1,714 U.S. adults, comprised of an over-sample of 535 Millennials and 689 Practicing Christians, conducted online June 22–July 13, 2017. Respondents were recruited from a national consumer panel, and minimal weighting was applied to ensure representation of certain demographic factors, such as age, gender, ethnicity and region. The sample error for this data is plus or minus 2.2% at the 95% confidence level for the total sample. A subgroup of participants had either: “shared my views on faith or religion in the last 5 years” OR “someone has shared their views on faith or religion with me in the last 5 years.”

Self-identified Christians select “Christian” from a list of religious affiliations.
Non-Christians do not self-identify as Christian.
Practicing Christians identify as Christian, have attended church within the past month and strongly agree that their faith is very important in their life today.
Non-practicing Christians identify as Christian, but do not qualify as practicing under the definition above.

Added reporting by Barna Group.

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