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talk jesus 246Talking Jesus - perceptions of Jesus, Christians and evangelism

From research conducted by Barna Group in 2016 on behalf of the Church of England, Evangelical Alliance and HOPE

What do people in this nation know and believe about Jesus? What do they really think of us, his followers? Are we talking about Jesus enough? And when we are, are we drawing people closer towards him, or further away? These are just some of the questions asked in a recent survey.

Here is a snapshot of the results:

  • 57% of people in England identify as Christians (9% are practising).
  • 41% of practising 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 18 to 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 practising Christians said a spiritual experience they could not explain was a key factor in them coming to faith.
  • 36% of practising Christians say talking to a Christian about Jesus was important in their coming to faith
  • Spiritual, loving and peaceful are the words most commonly used to describe Jesus

See some of the results in this short video::

What are the recommendations?
  1. Pray for the Church in our nation. We are faced with an enormous challenge but also great opportunities. Simply improving our skills or commitment will not be enough. We need God’s intervention. Prayer alongside any action is essential.
  2. Many people believe in Jesus’s resurrection but clearly they don’t recognise the impact it has on their lives.
  3. We are liked. Let’s recognise this and inspire confidence as a result of it, challenging the prevailing negative media image of Christians. But let’s also recognise that it’s not just about positive PR for Jesus followers. Let’s point to Jesus himself, who calls all of us into relationship with him.
  4. Let’s encourage our congregations to prioritise talking about Jesus to our friends and family – one in five of them is open to him.
  5. Let’s prioritise reaching the millennial generation who are open to Jesus after a Christian friend has talked to them about him.
  6. Churches/denominations/networks should consider tracking our community’s commitment to sharing our life and faith with those who don’t know Jesus.
  7. Let’s discuss in our churches how we can establish as our top priority ‘making Jesus known’ to those who don’t know him. Let’s encourage the telling of stories as to how those conversations take place.
  8. Let’s find ways to support Christian parents in their key role of encouraging their children to become followers of Jesus.
  9. Let’s seriously consider the implication of the survey’s findings on what influences people to become Christians and how that should impact our church life.
  10. There are many people who don’t know a practising Christian. How can we reach them?
At the Talking Jesus website, you can:
  • Access the above video
  • Download a booklet pdf
  • Download the executive summary of the report
  • Access free downloadable Powerpoint presentations

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from research for CofE, Hope, EA, 27/09/2016

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