Many times we've been told new Christians are most active in sharing their faith. In reality people who have been a Christian longer have higher responses for sharing Christ than newer Christians. While new Christians may find it natural to share their new experience, mature Christians do it intentionally.
Also, praying more frequently for the status of people who are not professing Christians is the best indicator of more spiritual maturity in the entire sharing Christ factor. If you are going to be intentional about sharing your faith, praying for others is a great way to start. We often acknowledge the importance of prayer in people coming to faith in Christ, but we also found it has an impact on the person praying.
So when we conducted the research for Transformation Discipleship, we made sure to gather quantitative data about this. What was found was not necessarily surprising, but some of the data should be alarming.
From the release (read the full article here):
When it comes to discipleship, churchgoers struggle most with sharing Christ with non-Christians according to recent study of church going American Protestants.
The study conducted by LifeWay Research found 80 percent of those who attend church one or more times a month, believe they have a personal responsibility to share their faith, but 61 percent have not told another person about how to become a Christian in the previous six months.
These distressing results came from an extensive discipleship research project focused on measuring spiritual maturity in individuals. Overall, LifeWay Research found eight biblical attributes consistently evident in the lives of maturing believers. Of those eight, "Sharing Christ" has the lowest average score among Protestant church attendees.
Some highlights from the research:
- 3 out of 4 churchgoers say they feel comfortable in their ability to effectively communicate the gospel
- 12% say they don't feel comfortable telling others about their faith.
- 25% of churchgoers say they have shared their faith once or twice; 14% have shared three or more times over the last six months.
- Nearly half (48%) of church attendees have not invited an unchurched person to attend a church service or some other program at their church in the past six months
- 33% of people say they've personally invited someone one or two times, and 19% say they've done so on three or more occasions in the last six months.
- 21% of churchgoers say that outside of church worship services they pray every day for people they know who are not professing Christians; 26% say they pray a few times a week; 20% say they rarely or never pray for the spiritual status of others.
To help pastors, churches and individuals measure spiritual development, LifeWay Research used the study's data to develop a questionnaire for believers, called the Transformational Discipleship Assessment (TDA). This online evaluation delivers both individual and group reports on spiritual maturity using the eight factors of biblical discipleship. The TDA also provides helpful and practical suggestions on appropriate next steps for spiritual development.
The Transformational Discipleship Assessment not only captures the literal action of verbally sharing one's faith, but also measures how ready and willing a person is to do so. While most believers accept personal responsibility to share their belief in Jesus Christ with non-Christians, far fewer are seeking these opportunities. For more information, visit http://tda.lifeway.com.