Christians in the U.K. are turning increasingly to social media sites like Facebook to share their faith, new research has found.
In a survey on attitudes to online mission by Christian Vision and Premier Christian Media, 64 percent said they were using social networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to share their faith in an intentional way.
Of the 700 Christians surveyed, 84 percent agreed that the online space was a huge mission field. More than two-thirds (71 percent) said they post links to Christian sites or content with missional values, while 73 percent said they intentionally post or link to content in order to share their faith.
Interestingly, the study found that interaction with social media was prolific across the age spectrum, rather than just among young people.
However, younger people are more likely to have non-Christian friends and are more active when it comes to sharing their faith online – 87 percent of 16 to 18-year-olds said they do so intentionally.
Of the total sample, 79 percent agreed that the best way to evangelize was through relationships.
Despite the enthusiasm for social networks, only 25 percent of respondents said their church encouraged online mission, while 78 percent said that churches should be more active in online mission.
The results suggest that although Christians are aware of the opportunities created by the internet, churches may need more encouragement and guidance to embrace the online channels open to them.
Training may not be the only answer, however, as only 40 percent 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.
The research was carried out to coincide with the launch of yesHEis.com, a new sharing platform to resource U.K. Christians in sharing their faith using the web.