Many young Christians clearly hold a negative view of evangelism. But why?
There is something about a good statistic that can capture our attention and ignite debate. Seemingly more than an opinion or an anecdote, it tells us something concrete about the way our world is and how our experience of our world relates to broad trends outside of our narrow slice.
So it’s not surprising that a new statistic is making the rounds on social media and in church board rooms across the United States. A new research study out of Barna found that “47% of Millennial practicing Christians think it is wrong to share one’s beliefs with a person of another faith in hopes that the person will come to share one’s beliefs.”
Moreover, 40 percent of practicing Millennial Christians believe that “if someone disagrees with you, they are judging you.” More concerning, these are not nominal or cultural Christians that we can dismiss as not the real deal. These are “practicing Millennial Christians” by which Barna means they, “identify as Christian, agree strongly that faith is very important in their lives and have attended church within the past month.”
While the first stat is garnering the majority of the headlines, the combined message is that many young Christians hold a clearly negative view of evangelism.
Yet with this statistic—like every startling number that reinforces a bias or stirs up controversy—we need to look beyond the number to consider the causes and our reactions. Barna has given the church a much-needed wake-up call to the state of evangelism in the church, particularly among its younger adults. However, it is up to us to interpret what this means and to chart a pathway forward to greater gospel effectiveness.
Over the course of two …