UK practicing/active Christians are involved in perhaps a surprisingly large amount of evangelism and when the figures from the Barna / Talking Jesus research (2015) are compared with the National Ministry Survey (2021), we find that these levels are pretty stable.
Remarkably, the 2021 NMS found 36% of Active Protestants who attend church once a week (AP*) had spoken to a non-Christian about Jesus in the last week, even higher than the 2015 figure. Even among the wider group of Active Protestants, a quarter had had an evangelistic conversation in the last week.
Over half of practicing/active Christians reported a conversation with a non-Christian about Jesus in the last month. Around a quarter to a third have had evangelistic conversations less recently. The figure of those who can’t remember having such a conversation is remarkably stable at 11%.
A number of the questions in the 2021 Savanta NMS survey were chosen to closely follow the questions used by Barna in their 2015 survey which formed part of the Talking Jesus research project. However, comparisons of surveys are always problematic and must come with methodological caveats.
- 2015 Barna/Talking Jesus defined ‘Practicing Christians’ as those UK adults who identify as Christian, of any denomination, who read the Bible, pray and attend church at least once a month.
- 2021 Savanta/National Ministry Survey defined ‘Active Protestants’ as those UK adults who identify as Christian, excluding Catholic and Orthodox believers, who attend church at least once a month.
So the Barna 2015 definition is slightly wider (including non-Protestants) but also slightly tighter (requiring personal Bible reading and prayer at least once a month in addition to church-going). Direct and definitive comparison is clearly impossible. However, to enable some correction for the different definitions, we have also looked at the 2021 NMS results for a tighter group: Active Protestants who attend church at least once a week. These most regular church-goers could be argued to more closely correspond to the Barna definition of ‘Practicing Christians.’
In the comparison charts above:
PC = Practicing Christians (n=1621)
AP = Active Protestants (n=3020)
AP* = Active Protestants who attend church at least once per week (n=1611)