The number of U.S. Christians who feel they have a personal responsibility to share their faith has declined over the past 25 years, according to a Barna Group report published on May 15.
Those who affirm the statement, “every Christian has a responsibility to share their faith,” has declined 25 points, moving from 89 percent in 1993 to 64 percent today.
Over the same period, the number of Christians who believe “converting people to Christianity is the job of the local church” has risen 19 points, from 10 percent to 29 percent.
Despite the overall decline in the affirmation of personal evangelism, those who do share their faith today are more likely to “actively seek / create opportunities” to evangelize – increasing from 11 percent in 1993 to 19 percent today.
Christians who share their faith also emphasize the importance of personal relationships more today than 25 years ago, with 47 percent affirming that “sharing my faith is only effective if I have a relationship with that person.” This is a 10-point increase from 1993.
Over the same period, there was an 11-point increase among evangelizing Christians who said, “I would avoid discussion about my faith if my non-Christian friend would reject me” – moving from 33 percent affirmation in 1993 to 44 percent today.
While the most common approach to evangelism in 1993 was to “speak about the change / benefits of accepting Jesus” (78 percent did so), today it has shifted to “ask questions about their beliefs / experiences, tell them yours” (70 percent do so).
The full report is available here.