Let's hit another topic unChristian tackles when looking at the Mosaic's and Buster's view of Christianity: Christians are insincere and concerned only with converting others. Remember, by Mosaics and Busters, the authors are referring to those aged 16-29.
One thing that is important to remember is that this younger generation has been the target of mass media marketing since the womb practically. This makes them very cynical and skeptical of anyone they see trying to "sell" them something.
According to Brian Kinnaman's research, the gap between how Christians perceive their efforts to share their faith and how this generation perceives those same actions is huge. While 64% of Christians thought they came across as caring and sincere, only 34% of Mosaic and Buster unbelievers feel Christians genuinely care about them.
This group feels evangelism efforts are more like spiritual headhunting than anything else. Mass evangelism efforts like street witnessing or covering an area with tracts or fliers not only doesn't work, but it may do more harm than good.
In the Barna group's research there were no favorable comments about steet witnessing (where believers canvass an area and approach unknown people to share the Gospel). Often these measures create about five times more negative responses than positive ones.
One girl was quoted as saying, "It's the con of conversion. Christians want you to pay attention to their message about Jesus, yet somehow I don't think Jesus would be happy about being turned into a gimmick."
Mass efforts at evangelism also aren't effective with the younger generation. Only one half of 1% said they made a decision for Christ as a result of a radio broadcast, a television show or a tract. On the flip side, 71% listed an individual as being most responsible for their decision for Christ.
It's pretty clear from the research, that one on one relationships where faith is shared in a natural way is much more effective than throwing the Gospel at people in whom we've made no investment.
Another interesting, yet disturbing finding from the research is that many nonbelievers have heard the message about Christ and faith numerous times in many settings. Over 80% of those who claim outsider status have gone to a Christian church for at least three months. An amazing 65% had conversations with a Christian friend about their faith views in the past year.
Yet, they walk away.
Kinnaman wrote, "The sobering finding is that the vast majority of outsiders in this country, particularly among the younger generations, are actually de-churched individuals."
In the 18-41 year old age bracket Kinnaman found more disturbing facts: 65% made a personal commitment to Jesus that is still important to them and 29% say they are absolutely committed to the Christian faith.
However, only 3% of those ages 18 to 41 years old and only 9% of those 42 or older claim a Biblical worldview. A Biblical worldview is described as interpreting and responding to experiences and reality in light of the Bible's principles. A Biblical worldview also means the person believs that Christ lived a sinless life; God is the all powerful and all knowing Creator and still rules today; salvation is a gift you can't earn; satan is real; we have a responsibility to share faith; the Bible is accurate; unchanging moral truth exists; and moral truth is defined by the Bible.
Research has found that people who embrace these 8 components live a very different lifestyle than those who don't. So, if 65% of the younger generation has made a commitment to Christ, but does not believe or live by a Biblical worldview and in fact, leaves the church all together, what does this tell us?
It tells us our emphasis on say this prayer and your saved has led us and this generation astray. It tells us that the Christian faith is more than a one time prayer with no lifestyle change.
Kinnaman states, "The research shows we have let discipleship languish in far too many lives. Our enthusiasm for evangelism is not matched by our passion for and patience with discipleship and faith formation."
This was a disheartening chapter to read. I want to share my faith, but if young people perceive it as a gimmick so I can add them to the conversion notches on my Bible, how do I do that? Better yet, how do I teach my oldest son Brock - who has a huge heart to share his faith with the lost - to evangelize in an effective, meaningful way?
The answer lies in the mindset of Busters and Mosaics - they are intensely loyal to their tribe (their network of friends) and savvy to insincerity or hypocrisy. I need to invest in individuals' lives, while showing them love, God's grace and His power in my own life.
We can't "fake it till we make it" with this generation. Instead, we have to get real.
~ Blessings, Bronte