The best way of sharing Christian faith is through relationship, according to new research from the Evangelical Alliance UK. Its survey showed that 81 per cent of Christians have seen 'friendship evangelism' work effectively.
The survey, Confidently sharing the gospel?, set out to find out whether Christians are still evangelising in the 21st century, but found changing patterns in the way that Christians speak about their faith.
It also revealed that today's Christians are unlikely to be found preaching in the open-air, with only nine per cent feeling that street preaching is an effective way to talk about Jesus. Eighty per cent find the intimacy of a group of friends is a safer and more effective place to share their beliefs.
Krish Kandiah, director of churches in mission at the Evangelical Alliance, said: "It's no surprise that the good news about Jesus is best communicated in friendly conversation. Jesus modelled confident graciousness to his Church. He was not afraid to explain the gospel, but he did it in a winsome, engaging way. Let's continue to walk in his footsteps."
Other results from the survey:
- 48 per cent feel too scared to talk about their faith to non-Christians
- 57 per cent believe it is their actions that will point people to Jesus, rather than their words, with 55 per cent having seen people come to faith through involvement in community projects like foodbanks
- 75 per cent have seen people come to faith through courses like Alpha
- 87 per cent believe the poor public image of the Church and its leaders hinders evangelism
The survey is available online at: http://www.eauk.org/snapshot, where hard copies can also be ordered.
The aim of these surveys is to provide churches and Christian organisations with the type of data that will help them better understand and work with the communities they serve.
21st Century Evangelicals
21st Century Evangelicals is a series of research booklets produced by the following group of organisations: Care, Christians Against Poverty, Compassion UK, CWR, Evangelical Alliance, Mission Aviation Fellowship, Open Doors, Prospects and Wycliffe Bible Translators. Its purpose is to study the beliefs, habits and practices of evangelical Christians in the UK. In January 2011 the first publication of 21st Century Evangelicals was a groundbreaking survey of more than 17,000 respondents. The follow-up surveys will help us move forward and delve deeper in to understanding more fully the beliefs and practices at the heart of evangelicalism.
Previous issues in the series are: A snapshot of the beliefs and habits of evangelical Christians in the UK, Does belief touch our society?, Are we communicating?, The World on our doorstep?, How's the family? and Does Money Matter?
The Evangelical Alliance UK
The Alliance was formed in 1846 and is the largest body serving evangelical Christians in the UK. It has a membership including denominations, churches, organisations and individuals. The mission of the Evangelical Alliance is to unite evangelicals to present Christ credibly as good news for spiritual and social transformation. According to a Tearfund survey (Churchgoing in the UK, 2007); there are approximately two million evangelical Christians in the UK.