(From Godtalk October 2021 update)
Morag Paton has specialised in online outreach for the past half dozen years. ‘YesHeIs’ was one of her projects.
– The info on the left reflects data taken from 5,078 online conversations she and team had in 2018 to 2020.
– What stands out is how low the ‘intellectual’ objections are – once you dig into the details.
The data: The number one blocker for 18-35 year olds coming to faith is personal reasons (48%), not intellectual (20%) or a belief that God is irrelevant (9%).
Personal blockers typically present themselves as a lack of self-worth and value, or an understanding that their personal sin stands in the way of their relationship with God. (which is about how they perceive God and themselves).
First ‘blocker’ is often not the real one: As conversations opened up they found that people shifted from their initial more ‘intellectual’ objections to the real issue – which was usually in their perception of God or themselves.
If we focus too much on convincing them regarding their initial objections we will sometimes miss the real conversation.
- Beyond discussing various important reasons for belief, tell testimonies.
- Ask ‘heart’ questions’ (feeling / hoping), not just intellectual ones (thinking).
- Consider what motivates a person to have a particular objection – not only the objection itself.
Btw – these are reflections from a practitioner. They regularly have young people coming to faith online!