A study conducted by LifeWay Research in 2012 found:
- Of eight biblical attributes most evident in the lives of mature believers, “Sharing Christ” had the lowest average score among Protestant churchgoers
- 61 percent had not told another person about how to become a Christian in the prior six months
- 25 percent said they shared their faith once or twice
- Only 4 percent shared the Gospel three or more times over the last six months
A Barna survery in 2013 came to similar conclusions. While a high percentage of born again Christians said they should share their faith with non-believers, only 52% said they had actually witnessed to someone at least once in the past year.
In this case, as with our other “blind spots”, there is a striking dichotomy between conviction and execution. A cursory review of Scriptures should compel Christians to reach out not only to those who are persecuted, abandoned, lonely and impoverished – but also “lost”. Yet just as churches spend less than 2% of their budgets on local and international missions, individual believers invest obscenely little of their time and energy leading others to Christ.
Where the breakdown between belief and action occurs is again at the very beginning – the definition of “church” itself. Permitting churchgoers to view “church” as a place (and not as the ekklesia, i.e. themselves) may keep them coming back (by alleviating their responsibilities to BE the church), but it stifles personal evangelism and discipleship. Pastors would feel at liberty to hold church members accountable for the Great Commission if those in the pews rightly saw themselves as the embodiment of “church”, as the Bible repeatedly contends:
- “And now you have become living building-stones for God’s use in building his house. What’s more, you are his holy priests;” (1 Peter 2:5)
- “But Christ, God’s faithful Son, is in complete charge of God’s house. And we Christians are God’s house…” (Hebrews 3:6)
- “And to the church, composed of all those registered in heaven;” (Hebrews 12:23)
From Meet the Need