Talking Jesus: Christianity in a modern context
Some of you will have read about the project called ‘Talking Jesus’ published jointly by the Evangelical Alliance, Church of England and HOPE a couple of months ago. The research was carried out last year, and the finished document was interesting enough to be picked up by most of the National newspapers – not all of whom were completely accurate in their reporting! The actual report is well worth reading for several reasons. Firstly, it’s short, pithy and will hold your attention because its results are interesting and important. Secondly, it’s publication has come about as a result of one of those rare moments when Church’s history when the unity of God’s people is tangible. It’s therefore a really important thing to get excited about! Thirdly, this piece of research was designed to be a catalyst for focused future evangelism – the results are not just interesting but can, and should, spur us into action. And finally, it’s worth reading because you will be surprised by the results.
There are some parts of the research that will leave you with a heavy heart – and hopefully propel you in deeper prayer for those around you – but there are also real glimmers of hope. For me, the real eye opener was the fact that 40% of people interviewed don’t realise that Jesus was an actual person who lived. Rather than being completely depressing, what a great opportunity this provides to start a conversation with our friends and neighbours that will easily leave them a step closer to knowing Him for themselves.
Here are the edited highlights, but may I encourage you above all to read the full article which can be found at www.talkingjesus.org or see the video below.
- 57% of people in England identify as Christians (9% are practicing)
- 41% of practicing Christians attribute their faith to growing up in a Christian home
- 40% of people do not realise Jesus was a real person who actually lived
- One in four 19-34 year olds thinks Jesus was a mythical or fictional character
- 43% of people believe in the resurrection
- 66% of practising Christians have talked about Jesus to a non-Christian in the past month
- 72% of practising Christians feel comfortable talking to non-Christians about Jesus
- 31% of 18 to 34-year olds felt more positive about Jesus after such a conversation
- 44% of practising Christians credit their friends for introducing them to Jesus
- 17% of practicing Christians said a spiritual experience they could not explain was a key factor in them coming to faith.
- Spiritual, loving and peaceful are the words most commonly used to describe Jesus
- 36% or practicing Christians say talking to a Christian about Jesus was important in their coming to faith
About the survey
The research was carried out by Barna Group and ComRes.The researchers designed an online survey to administer among a carefully screened sample of 2,545 English adults ages 18 and older who are nationally representative by age, gender, region and socioeconomic grade. The sample error on this survey is plus or minus 1.9% points at the 95% confidence level. Additional data were collected through an online survey among an oversample of 1,592 English practising Christians. The sample error on the oversample data is plus or minus 2.5% points at the 95% confidence level.
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