New research from Barna reveals that a about half of millennial Christians believe it's "wrong" to evangelize.
The new report, "Reviving Evangelism," commissioned by Alpha USA, examines the experiences of persons who share their faith and their attitudes toward evangelizing.
Nearly every practicing Christian believes that part of their faith is being a witness about Jesus and that the best thing that could occur for someone is to receive Christ, survey results in the study show.
Millennial Christians, those born between 1984 and 1998, say they feel equipped to share their faith with other people with nearly three quarters responding that they both know how to respond when someone asks faith-related questions and are gifted at sharing their faith. Such confidence is considerably higher than older generations, the survey found.
However, millennials may not be doing that much evangelism. A significant percentage regard it as at least somewhat "wrong."
This despite evangelism being a central aspect of what is known as the Great Commission, where Jesus charged his followers in Matthew 28 to "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. "
"Almost half of Millennials (47%) agree at least somewhat that it is wrong to share one's personal beliefs with someone of a different faith in hopes that they will one day share the same faith. This is compared to a little over one-quarter of Gen X (27%), and one in five Boomers (19%) and Elders (20%)," the report reads.
"Younger Christians tend to be more personally aware of the cultural temperature around spiritual conversations. Among practicing Christians, Millennials report an average (median) of four close friends or family members who practice a faith other than Christianity; most of their Boomer parents and grandparents, by comparison, have just one."
Increased cultural hostility to the gospel and conversations that bring people's differences into focus make evangelism more difficult today than in previous decades, the analysis shows, as many older Christians do not appreciate the negative forces in society that demean sharing ones faith.
With regard to faith-sharing, 40 percent of millennial practicing Christians strongly or somewhat agreed with the statement, "If someone disagrees with you, it means they are judging you," which was the highest by far compared to the other generations studied. Only 22 percent of generation X, 9 percent of baby boomers, and 11 percent of "elders" agreed.