Evangelism Using Death, Heaven, Hell Talk Don’t Work on ‘Unchurched’ Americans, Survey Finds

Evangelism Using Death, Heaven, Hell Talk Don’t Work on ‘Unchurched’ Americans, Survey Finds

(Link): Evangelism Using Death, Heaven, Hell Talk Don’t Work on ‘Unchurched’ Americans, Survey Finds by  B. Showalter


July 2016

Non-church-attending Americans are generally open to talking about faith but few wonder about life after death – which is the tactic many Christians are taught to begin conversations, a new LifeWay Research study commissioned by the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton College finds.

Nashville-based LifeWay Research published a (Link): study Thursday that examines the types of church activities that “unchurched” Americans are interested in as well as how open they are to talking about faith.

By “unchurched” the researchers mean “those who have not attended a worship service in the last six months, outside of a holiday or special occasion like a wedding.” Surprisingly, the survey found that more than half of Americans who don’t go to church self-identify as Christians.

The online survey of 2,000 unchurched Americans finds that:

    • about two-thirds (62 percent) would attend a meeting at a church about neighborhood safety;
    • half would participate in a community service event (51 percent);
    • nearly half would go to a concert (45 percent);
    • nearly half would join a sports or fitness program (46 percent);
    • nearly half would go to a neighborhood gathering (46 percent).

The survey also finds that 66 percent of respondents said they were either “unlikely” or “extremely unlikely” to attend a worship service if invited. Even more respondents, 74 percent, were “unlikely” or “extremely” to attend a “small group for people curious about God.”

Why Is There Such an Aversion to Church?

Earlier this month, The Christian Post (Link): interviewed Preston Ulmer who started an unconventional group called “The Doubter’s Club” in Denver-area coffee shops to engage skeptics and atheists with the Gospel. CP reached out to him for comments on this survey’s findings, asking him what drives distaste for churches, particularly among young people.

….”Unchurched Americans aren’t hostile to faith,” says LifeWay Executive Director Scott McConnell in a statement, “they just don’t think church is for them.”

But Christians should be prepared to change their evangelism approach as many unchurched Americans say they never (43 percent) or are not sure of the last time the question came to mind (20 percent) of “If I were to die today, do I know for sure that I would go to heaven?”

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