An Evangelism Explosion survey of 1002 Americans conducted by Lifeway Research in December 2021 found an alarming disparity between unbelievers’ openness to talking about spiritual things and Christians’ willingness to actually speak about them.*
Some key takeaways from the survey are as follows:
- 71% say that it is very important to have hope in their life
- 74% say that it is very important to have peace in their life
- 66% say that it is very important to have purpose and fulfillment in their life
- 55% say that it is very important to have certainty they will go heaven or have eternal life
- 61% say their interest in spiritual matters hasn’t changed compared to before COVID-19, but 32% are more interested
- 66% say they are open or very open to having a conversation about the Christian faith with a friend
- 52% say they are open or very open to having a conversation about the Christian faith with a stranger
- 65% say they are open or very open to talking with a friend about having a relationship with God
- 53% say they are open or very open to talking with a stranger about having a relationship with God
- 71% say when meeting someone new, they are open or very open to hearing their life story
- 69% want to hear why someone thinks their faith helps with a core human need
- 4 out of 10 (40%) say they wouldn’t think about faith on their own if a friend or family member didn’t bring it up
- 51% are curious as to why some people are devoted to their faith
- 6 out of 10 (60%) say that many of their friends who claim to be Christians rarely talk about their faith
“This study reveals that most Americans are open to talking about faith,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research.
But the sad, sorry realization is that the conversation is simply not happening as often as it ought.
Why is that? Can we blame cancel culture? The current war on Christianity? Closed mindedness on the part of the masses? New restrictions on religious liberty?
“It really isn’t about religious liberty, people not wanting to hear, or religion being off-limits. The reason conversations are not happening about the Christian faith is that Christians are not bringing it up.”
“Now, perhaps more than ever, people are open to conversations about faith [A whopping 32% of respondents said that since COVID, they are MORE open to talking about spiritual things], yet few Christians actually take the opportunity to engage in personal evangelism,” says Dr. John B. Sorensen, President and CEO of Evangelism Explosion International.
At a time when “one in 5 religiously unaffiliated Americans (20%) say they are more interested in spiritual matters,” it is heartbreaking to find that some 60% report that their “friends who claim to be Christians rarely talk about their faith.”
*About 38% of respondents were identified as already having some measure of Christian belief.
It’s hard to “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” when we can’t seem to open our mouths to speak to our neighbors and friends. How can we close our lips when he has “commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead” (Acts 10:42).
“For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (I Cor. 9:16 ESV)