A recent study by the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and LifeWay Research found that 67 percent of Americans say a personal invitation from a family member would be effective in getting them to visit a church. A personal invitation from a friend or neighbor would effectively reach 63 percent.
Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) are willing to receive information about a local congregation or faith community from a family member, and 56 percent are willing to receive such information from a friend or neighbor.
"The primary lesson North American believers should learn from this research is that many of your unchurched friends are ready for an invitation to conversation," said Ed Stetzer, director of LifeWay Research. "Unbelievers next door still need a simple, personal invitation to talk, to be in community and to church. Clearly, relationships are important and work together with marketing."
The survey, commissioned by the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board and conducted by LifeWay Research, may be the largest survey ever conducted on Americans’ receptivity to different methods of church invitations. LifeWay Research, the research arm of LifeWay Christian Resources, surveyed more than 15,000 adults in December 2008 using a random, demographically balanced, stratified sample of Americans. NAMB commissioned the research as one of the steps to prepare for "God’s Plan for Sharing," its national evangelism initiative that will launch nationwide in 2010.
The best way to reach people is through friends, family, and neighbors:
The majority of personal invitations are well received. This is another example of statistics screaming for us to be bold in sharing our faith and inviting others to church. This level of receptivity should encourage churches everywhere – our unchurched neighbors are not as set against attending church as we might think. They are just waiting for an invitation, and we are failing them. So swallow your pride, put away your fear, suck it up and invite someone!