UK Christians turning to Facebook to share their faith
UK Christians are using social media to share their faith online says a new survey by Christian Vision in partnership with Premier Christian Media.
In a survey on attitudes to online mission, the majority (84%) of respondents agreed that the online space is a huge mission field, with 65% revealing that they use social networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to share their faith in an intentional way. 71% post links to Christian sites or content with missional values, while 73% intentionally post or link to content in order to share their faith.
Interestingly, social media activity is prolific across the age spectrum and is not just a preserve of young people as is widely thought. However, younger people are more likely to have a larger proportion of non-Christian friends, and are more active in sharing their faith online: 87% of 16-18 year-olds said they do so intentionally. Older people are less confident to share their faith online than they are offline, but recognise the opportunity to do so: 92% of 35-44 year-olds agree that online is a huge mission field. Altogether 79% of the sample agreed that the best way to evangelise is through relationships.
Church leaders are more engaged than average in social media activity and welcome the use of the medium for ministry and evangelism. However, of all respondents only 25% said their church encourages online mission, with 78% saying churches should be more active in online mission.
The results back-up claims that Christians do not need persuading about the opportunities presented by the internet – why they should use the online space for mission. However it is clear that churches generally need more encouragement to embrace the opportunity – and guidance on how to. However training may not be the only answer: only 40% at least somewhat agreed that they would be more willing to share their faith online if they knew of tools and training to help them. This closely matches the response to a similar question about attitudes to sharing faith offline.
Christian Vision launched the survey in partnership with Premier Christian Media, ahead of promoting the yesHEis.com sharing platform as a resource for UK Christians. Head of Research, Andrew Flynn said that Christian Vision wanted to learn more about the segment of Christians who use social media to share their faith, and to discover what the obstacles to doing so might be.
The survey supports the work of Premier’s New Media Centre of Excellence (NMCE), in partnership with CODEC (Christian Communication in the Digital Age). The NMCE recently launched a free training programme designed to up-date church leaders on new media communications. Hope City Church, Leeds will play host to the first training day on April 28th when experts will be teaching the cyber skills of evangelising on-line and virtual relationships, with special emphasis on tweeting and Facebook communications. For more information click the 'Events' tab above.
Christian Vision surveyed 700 UK Christians via an online poll between February and March 2012. Full data tables available at http://tinyurl.com/cxbeo5o