Lifeway Research has released a fascinating study this week on evangelistic practices among Protestant churchgoers. Researchers found that while a majority of churchgoers say they pray for evangelistic opportunities at least once a week, 55 percent admit they’ve not explained how to follow Jesus Christ with others in the last six months.
While this might give us initial cause for concern, it appears that some age and ethnic groups within Christianity are more engaged in evangelistic opportunities than others. Surprisingly, young adults and middle-aged churchgoers were more likely to have practiced evangelism recently than those 65 and older. In fact, 62 percent of those aged 65 and older were most likely to say they had not evangelized to another within the past six months and were least likely to strongly agree that they were eager to tell others about Jesus.
“Recently, there has been much discussion about young adults participating less in evangelism. That’s not the case, however,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “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.”
This study also found that Hispanics (36 percent) and African Americans (29 percent) were more likely than white churchgoers (20 percent) to pray daily for the opportunity to tell others about Jesus. Hispanic churchgoers were also the ethnic group most eager to share about Jesus and 71 percent of Hispanics said they had invited at least one person to church recently.
Other results won’t come as a surprise. For example, those who attend church regularly are more likely to have engaged in evangelism recently than those who attend less. Those surveyed who attend church service four times a month or more were more likely to have practiced evangelism recently, with 58 percent more likely to have invited someone to a church service in the past six months.
The results ring with a bit of conviction for me, especially having just celebrated Easter and the risen Lord. If I truly believe in Christ our Redeemer, then why am I among those who have not invited someone to church in the past six months? There is a serious urgency to tell others about Jesus right now in our communities. Yet, evangelism wains as a priority for many churchgoers. But this world is temporary and eternity is waiting.
“Jesus never promised the Great Commission would be completed quickly,” explained McConnell, “but He set the expectation that the efforts to reach all nations with His gospel should be continuous. Many in church today appear to be distracted from Jesus’ final command.”