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Sharing faith is increasingly optional to Christians, research finds

Image: © Barna Group, 2018

By Agencies

A growing number of Christians today don’t see sharing the good news of Christ as a personal responsibility, new research shows.

In 1993, The Barna Group, a market research firm specializing in studying the religious beliefs, and the intersection of faith and culture, partnered with Lutheran Hour Ministries to research reasons why people did and did not engage in intentional outreach.

A lot has changed since that initial study which revealed that 10 percent of Christians (in 1993) who had shared about their faith agreed with the statement “converting people to Christianity is the job of the local church”—as opposed to the job of an individual.

The latest study released this year titled ‘Spiritual Conversations in the Digital Age’ discovered Christians do not share their faith by the same fervor and inclination they once did 25 years back.

In 1993, 89 percent of the polled Christians agreed with the statement that every Christian bears the responsibility to share the faith. The present number is 64 percent.

Only 10 percent of the respondents in 1993 said yes to a question on whether the local church has the sole responsibility to bring Christians into the fold. This number has increased to nearly 30 percent in the present time.

Since evangelism strategies or programs have always been popular, it was a surprise to researchers that present-day Christians who discuss their faith are more probable than Christians 25 years back to admit they utilize the same basic content and entryways every time they engage in a faith-centric conversation. The variation is a noticeable 44 percent compared to 33 percent.

The next common method was how the individual integrates faith in their daily life and not simply speaking about it (65 percent). These were common among the 1993 study as well. Christians of that time emphasized the supposed multiple beneficial aspects when one accepts Jesus (78 percent). This strategy is now adopted a fewer number of times (50 percent). Other practices which are not followed today include quoting Bible passages. In 1993 it was 59 percent. That number has declined to 37 percent in the present day. Another less popular present-day practice was challenging the one being spoken to defend beliefs. It was 43 percent earlier. Now it is only 24 percent.

About Barna Group
Barna Group is a private, non-partisan, for-profit organization under the umbrella of the Issachar Companies. Located in Ventura, California, Barna Group has been conducting and analyzing primary research to understand cultural trends related to values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors since 1984.

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