Most Protestant churchgoers say they are eager to talk to others about Jesus, and are praying for opportunities to share their faith. But most say they have not had any evangelistic conversations in the past six months.
The 2019 Discipleship Pathway Assessment study from Nashville-based LifeWay Research found excitement and eagerness about the idea of evangelism, but few Protestant churchgoers actually engaged in the practice on a regular basis.
“Sharing the good news that Jesus paid for our sins through His death on the cross and rose again to bring us new life is the mission of the church,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research, “but it does not appear to be the priority of churchgoers.”
“The task of making disciples of all nations has not been fully embraced in the American church—especially by the majority culture,” said McConnell. “This is in spite of the convenience of having other ethnicities and immigrants from other countries often living in the same neighborhood.”
“Recently, there has been much discussion about young adults participating less in evangelism. That’s not the case, however,” said McConnell. “In fact, young adult and middle-aged churchgoers are more likely to have shared with someone how to become a Christian in the past six months than older churchgoing adults.”
Those who attend at least four times a month (58%) are more likely to say they have invited an unchurched person to a church service in the past six months than those who attend less than four times a month (47%).
“Jesus never promised the Great Commission would be completed quickly,” said McConnell, “but He set the expectation that the efforts to reach all nations with His gospel should be continuous. Many in church today appear to be distracted from Jesus’ final command.”
The online survey of 2,500 Protestant churchgoers was conducted Jan. 14–29, 2019. Respondents were screened to include those who identified as Protestant/non-denominational and attend religious services at least once a month. Quotas and slight weights were used to balance gender, age, region, ethnicity, income and denominational affiliation. The completed sample is 2,500 surveys. The sample provides 95% confidence that the sampling error does not exceed plus or minus 2.0%. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups.