Those who find it difficult to share the Gospel with others might lack assurance in their own walk of faith, according to new research.
A list of “8 Traits of the Most Evangelistic Christians” from Lifeway Research suggests Christians who are theologically grounded in their salvation might be more comfortable — and successful — in sharing their faith.
A recent study from Lifeway found there are more Christians who say they are “never active” (24%) in evangelism than there are those who identify as “very active” (13%), while the number of those who are never or rarely active and those who are somewhat or very active in evangelism are split roughly 50-50.
Daniel Price, a statistician for Lifeway Research, told CP most of those who are “never active” in evangelism have low assurance regarding their salvation, with only 33% stating they are sure they have eternal life through Jesus Christ.
Those percentages rise in correlation with evangelistic activity levels from the “rarely actives” (46%) all the way to the “very actives” (76%) — a trend Price said clearly shows “how someone’s assurance of salvation is related to their activity in sharing.”
“Since salvation is an essential component for a relationship with Christ, it is only logical that if this is not rock solid, it will inhibit the desire to share,” Price added.
The “never active” group, interestingly, is the most likely to say “no one can know” whether they are headed for Heaven, a finding that Price said might explain why someone is less likely to be active.
“Since salvation is a major driving force behind evangelistic efforts, if someone does not believe this can be assured, it will not create the same angst for the spiritual welfare of others,” he said.
So perhaps it’s no surprise that the top two traits predictive of an evangelistic Christian on Lifeway’s list are “Connect faith to everyday life” and “Biblical beliefs about Heaven,” both of which infer a strong grasp of theology from both a practical and Evangelical perspective.
In fact, Price said Christians who are never (38%) and rarely (38%) active in evangelism are “the most likely to say they should get into Heaven because they’re good people.”
Beyond personal evangelism, Price also said churches have a role to play, particularly when it comes to fostering the traits of “embrace responsibility” and “positive perceptions of evangelism."
Christians who are never active in evangelism appear to be the group with the most ambivalence toward how their pastor should be involved. Half of this group are least likely to say equipping congregants for evangelism is the pastor’s responsibility, and they’re the group that’s most likely to say they’re not sure whether it’s the pastor’s responsibility.
More than half of the “never active” group (51%) are also the most likely to say they are “not sure what information needs to be shared or where to start” when it comes to sharing the Gospel.
Price said in order to counter this trend, it’s imperative for churches to provide more direct education in evangelism.
“While it is clear the ‘never active’ people are hesitant based on not knowing where to start, other factors including fear, complacency or apathy, could make someone be unsure of where to start,” he said.
The data also indicates a link between church attendance and evangelistic activity. The “never actives” are most likely to attend church less than once a month (46%) compared with the “very active” group, which is most likely to attend four times or more a month (24%).
“This could directly relate to an individual having a higher comfort level in taking evangelistic action,” Price said.