With Christmas approaching, many Christians may be weighing up whether they should invite friends and family who are non-believers to come along to church with them so they can share the reason the season is so special for them.
For those in Australia, NCLS Research has delivered an early Christmas present with the release of data from their Australian Community Survey (ACS) showing that almost half of Australians would be willing to attend a church service if they were invited, and only a quarter offering a categorical refusal.
NCLS Research, who are also responsible for the five-yearly National Church Life Survey, uses the Australian Community Survey to examine the attitudes of Australians to faith and spirituality.
The survey discovered that around 45% of respondents would attend a Christmas service if invited, with another 20% unsure of how they would respond.
According to the survey, personal relationships were the key to whether they would accept an invitation, with just over a third of those surveyed saying that they would be more likely to attend if they knew it was important to the friend or relative extending the invitation.
The next most important factor, at just under 30%, was whether the church offered a caring and welcoming environment.
Earlier research has shown that people are far less likely to accept an invitation extended by a church or faith group, highlighting the importance of individual connections.
With around 10% of those surveyed saying that they didn't know anyone who attended church, the survey demonstrates the importance of Christians sharing their faith with people in their lives—and showing them the real reason for the season.