Are you reluctant to discuss church or share your faith in Christ with your unchurched friends? Do you think they will be turned off by such a discussion? It is highly likely that will NOT be the case. At least that’s a finding of a new online survey of 2000 unchurched Americans. The study was conducted by LifeWay Research in partnership with the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism.
“Unchurched Americans aren’t hostile to faith. They just don’t think church is for them,” concluded Mr. Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. He says some Christians may refrain from discussing their faith with their friends for fear of offending them. But based on the findings of the survey, that fear is unfounded.
For this survey, “unchurched” means those who have not attended a worship service in the last six months, except for a holiday or special occasion like a wedding.
So what kind of church functions would the unchurched be most interested in attending? Based on the survey: a church meeting about neighborhood safety (62 percent); a community service event (51 percent); a concert (45 percent); a sports or exercise program (46 percent); or a neighborhood get-together at a church (45 percent). By comparison, only about 35% of the unchurched say they would be interested in attending a worship service.
To me, these findings underscore the importance of a local church’s involvement in the community God has placed her in. Though the unchurched are less likely to accept an invitation to a worship service, a good chance exists that they will embrace the kinds of church-sponsored activities mentioned above. These findings highlight what should be the obvious. That is, a local church that demonstrates its love for her community will be more effective in reaching it than a church that fails to look outside her walls.
Activities like those mentioned above are no substitute for the gospel, of course. The most important need for any individual is to experience salvation through faith in Christ. This is true whether or not the person believes or acknowledges that. But I believe the least effective campaign for reaching a community is the one liner that says, “Come and worship with us.”
The point is that we have to start somewhere. And oftentimes, we can’t start with an invite to a worship service.
Your friends will not be as turned off when you share your faith as you may think, according to the findings. It’s just that accepting an invitation to a worship service is not high on their list. Hence, to increase our chances of reaching and winning the lost, the church must have other ways to “touch” her community.
Copyright © 2016 by Frank King. All rights reserved.