A new study released by the Barna Group shows that 47 percent of millennial Christians stand against the idea of evangelizing people of different faiths.
To quickly clarify, evangelizing refers to the act of simply sharing the facts about ones personal faith in hopes of swaying another person into sharing those values. Every person evangelizes slightly differently, and some people are more “forceful” than others. In general, it is simply sharing what one believes with another.
Although millennials in the Barna Group study claim to disagree with evangelism, they still feel they are “good evangelists, and still see themselves as representatives for their faith.” This is backed up by other studies that show born-again millennials are more evangelistic in nature than previous generations. They are also the most likely group to share their faith.
The study goes on the cite that 73 percent of millennial Christians believe they are “gifted at sharing” their faith. When compared to other generations, they scored higher in this category. Therefore, in general, millennials seem happy to share their faith, but only in certain parameters. They are very aware of others’ faith and seem to not want to “step on any toes.”
According to David Kinnamen, Barna President, the attitude towards evangelism when it relates to those of other faiths could be due to the rise in “cultural expectation against judging personal choices.” This does seem to be the case, and was backed up by the fact that 40 percent of millennials said they agreed with the following statement: “If someone disagrees with you, it means they’re judging you.”
To put the 40 percent in perspective, consider that this number was two to three times more than what elders, Baby Boomers or Gen Xers said.
“Cultivating deep, steady, resilient Christian conviction is difficult in a world of ‘you do you’ and ‘don’t criticize anyone’s life choice’ and emotivism, the feelings-first priority that our culture makes a way of life,” Kinnament added. “As much as ever, evangelism isn’t just about saving the unsaved, but reminding ourselves that this stuff matters, that the Bible is trustworthy, and that Jesus changes everything.”
Unfortunately, with millennials shying away from sharing their faith with others, the outlook for evangelism isn’t great. Although they do claim to enjoy sharing their faith in general, as mentioned above, they are hesitant when it comes to sharing with “all” people, which isn’t ideal.
In Matthew 28:19-20, the Bible says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Notice that nowhere in this verse does the Word of God imply that telling others about Jesus should only include telling those who currently have no preferred faith. In fact, in some ways, those who already believe in some way may be the most open to hearing about God and all His salvation and grace has to offer.
It’s a shame to leave those who already practice faith out of evangelical efforts due to some desire to “not offend.” In many ways, the Word of God itself is offensive. It speaks truth and cuts to the heart of a matter. Sometimes, the truth isn’t easy to hear, but hearing it is necessary in order to believe.
Evangelism should never be limited to those without religion. Hopefully, millennials will learn that over time.
~ 1776 Christian