"This study reveals that most Americans are open to talking about faith. It really isn't about religious liberty, people not wanting to hear, or religion being off-limits. The reason conversations are not happening about the Christian faith is that Christians are not bringing it up."
Scott McConnell, executive director
In early December, two organizations – Evangelism Explosion and Lifeway Research – partnered to survey more than a thousand Americans to find out how open they are to talking about faith. Rev. Tony Castro, chief operating officer with EE, says they were surprised at the results.
"Early in our history, we used to say if you approach ten people, one of them would give you permission to share the gospel," he begins. "But what we were seeing over these last few years is that about half the people we approach actually enter into a gospel conversation with us – and then about half of those were actually making a decision for Christ, either a first-time profession or a rededication."
According to the survey, more than half of Americans are open to a spiritual conversation with friends and strangers about faith, about having a relationship with God, and even about the Christian faith.
While the survey didn't look at the reasons for the shift in attitudes toward the gospel, Castro says it clearly gathered steam in the past four or five years.
"Even before the pandemic there was so much division in our culture," he notes. "And then you add on top of that the pandemic, the lockdowns, people being isolated from one another – and that just creates a perfect storm of people being hungry for peace. And the gospel brings that."
There are many ways to start a conversation about Christ – even with a stranger, Castro emphasizes, suggesting that asking them if there's anything they need prayer for is one way to start. As for more ideas how to do that …
"I would point people to ShareLife.today," Castro offers. "That's an easy place for people to get connected with what we do, and to find some resources to help them more effectively share their faith."
The study revealed that one in three people were less interested in a conversation about faith when methods such as social media, pamphlets, and apps were introduced. But when the conversation was personal, Americans were more interested.