Most Christians believe that sharing their faith with friends is an effective form of evangelism, a new survey suggests.
The survey, Confidently sharing the gospel?, was undertaken by the Evangelical Alliance to determine whether Christians are still evangelising in the 21st century.
It found a shift in the way that Christians are speaking about their faith, from the open air preaching that typified the evangelism of the 19th and early to mid 20th centuries, to more intimate settings.
While only nine per cent said that street preaching was an effective way to talk about Jesus, eighty per cent said that the intimacy of a group of friends was a safer and more effective place to share their beliefs.
Fifty-seven per cent said it was their actions that would point people to Jesus, rather than their words, with 55 per cent saying they had seen people come to faith through involvement in community projects like foodbanks.
Just under half (48 per cent) admitted they were too scared to talk about their faith to non-Christians, while three-quarters said they had seen people come to faith through courses like Alpha.
Interestingly, a massive 87 per cent of those surveyed said they felt the poor public image of the Church and its leaders was hindering evangelism.
Dave Landrum, director of advocacy at the Evangelical Alliance, said: "A man on a soapbox in the corner of Hyde Park is not where evangelising is being done these days and this is partly to do with the change in what people think is authentic.
"Being lectured to is far less appealing than a conversation over coffee with friends. And there lies the success of Christianity – relationship.
"This research shows that, although confidence to share our faith has taken a hit in recent years, it is nevertheless happening – albeit in different ways."