Churchgoers split on visibility, compartmentalization of faith

Churchgoers split on visibility, compartmentalization of faith

Spiritual topics aren’t a part of regular conversations for many Protestant churchgoers, but most seem at least somewhat confident others know they’re a Christian, according to an online survey conducted in January 2019. 

They may be wrong, said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research.

“In an increasingly secular culture fewer people assume you are a Christian,” McConnell said. “Disciples now must decide if their identity in Christ is important enough to them to bring up in conversations.”

Overall 39% of Protestant churchgoers disagree with the statement, “Spiritual matters do not tend to come up as a normal part of my daily conversations with other Christians.” 

More than a third (35%) agree and 26% aren’t sure.

Fifteen percent strongly assert matters of faith are a part of their regular conversations with fellow believers.

Females (17%) are more likely than males (11%) to strongly indicate regularly having such conversations. 

Hispanics (19%) and African Americans (18%) are more likely than whites (13%) to strongly affirm that matters of faith come up in their daily conversations with other Christians.

Evangelical Protestants (17%) and black Protestants (15%) also are more likely than mainline Protestants (7%) to have such daily conversations.

‘Acknowledge Jesus’

The youngest adult churchgoers (18–34) are least likely to strongly indicate spiritual matters are topics of daily conversations with other Christians (9%).

Nearly two-thirds of Christians (62%) disagree with the statement, “Many people who know me are not aware I am a Christian” (with 36% of those strongly disagreeing). Overall 20% agree and 18% neither agree nor disagree.

“Far more people identify as a Christian on a survey than they do among their acquaintances,” McConnell said. “One in 5 churchgoers is missing the truth found in Matthew 10:32 that acknowledging Jesus before men is tied to whether Jesus will acknowledge us before His Father.”

Most Protestant churchgoers believe God is relevant to every part of their life and identity.

Two-thirds (66%) disagree with the statement: “Many aspects of who I am have nothing to do with God” (with 44% of those strongly disagreeing). 

Overall 16% agree and 18% aren’t sure.

“While most churchgoers avoid compartmentalizing their faith it can be challenging to walk with God in every area of life,” McConnell said. 

“The majority of churchgoers indicate there are more aspects of who they are that can be better connected to God.” (BP)