Faith, fear, and the Great Commission
Joy Lucius
AFA Journal staff writer

April 2019 – The very core of Christianity has always revolved around evangelism. In fact, the last earthly message Jesus gave to His disciples was, “Go and make disciples of all nations… .” Since that time, Christians around the world have obeyed that Great Commission (Matthew 28: 19-20) by sharing the good news of salvation found in Jesus Christ alone.

Yet, in Reviving Evangelism, a recently released survey of both Christians and non-Christians alike, Barna Group found that nearly half of Millennials (47%) feel it is wrong to share one’s personal faith with someone of another faith as a means of proselytizing. Ironically, these same Millennials have an average of four close friends or family members who practice another faith, presenting a great opportunity for evangelism.

Even more puzzling, Millennials (96%) definitely believe being a witness about Jesus is part of their faith. They even agree (94%) that coming to know Jesus is the best thing that could happen to non-believers. And 86% of Millennials polled said they have no problem answering questions about their faith, while 73% even felt gifted at sharing their faith. Millennials simply feel it is wrong to “impose” their personal beliefs on non-believers.

A closer look at the data gathered from Millennials in Reviving Evangelism gives a deeper look into their reluctance to offend non-believers. Forty percent of them feel that when someone disagrees with them, the other person is also judging them, suggesting an underlying fear of peer judgment hindering their evangelism.

Society today does cast a negative light on evangelism, and that different cultural trend was evidenced by the study’s generational comparisons. (See chart above.) In fact, even though Millennials are much more confident in their faith than three previous generations, their unwillingness to share their faith and their fear of peer judgment were the study’s greatest areas of generational demarcation.

For more information on Reviving Evangelism, go to barna.com