[Series II] Evangelism and Church Growth

Evangelism and Church Growth: Research on Non-believers
For Evangelizing Strategy in the Korean Context
and A Model of Diamond Evangelistic System 

Written By HONG, Young-Gi (Ph.D.)
The Senior Pastor of the Full Gospel Church of Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.

 

2. Statistics Analysis in Depth

The gender, age, income, education, and religion preference of non-believers were considered together with their  experience of evangelism and religiosity.  Regression Analysis was done as a main analysis.

 

1) Features According to the Gender of the Non-believers

First, in order to find out what kind of difference there is depending on the non-believers’ sex,  I set the gender as the independent variable and compared and contrasted the survey contents. By using the analysis of variance(ANOVA), in a few aspects, statistically significant difference was discovered between male and female.

Table 14.  Features of Non-believers’ According to Gender

a: P<0.01, b: P<0.05, c: P<0.1

 

Firstly, looking at the experience of being witnessed to, it turned out that male have been witnessed to more.  This is probably because males have social life and go out more.  Also, looking at the preference of Protestant churches, it resulted in more females preferring Protestant churches.  Lastly, there appeared to be a difference in religious comparison dealing with the system of faith of the Protestant churches.  Excluding “faith in spirits after death,” which has no statistical significance, it was shown that in case of “existence of a god,” “existence of Heaven,” “miracles” and “ghosts,” more female non-believers had faith than male non-believers.

This results show that in Korea, females are easier targets to witness to.  Churches can approach females more easily because the preference of Protestant churches and religious disposition are higher for females than males.

 

2) Features According to Age Group of the Non-Believers

Next, we can take a good look at what kind of meaningful result come about according to the non-believers’ age difference. As a result, the statistically significant variables are as follows.

Table 15.  Features of the Non-believers’ According to the Age Group

a: P<0.01, b: P<0.05, c: P<0.1

 

Feeling the positive feeling when being witnessed grew as the age group got higher. Likewise, the preference for Protestant churches also grew as the age group got higher and as the age group went down, the preference went down too.  This shows that Protestant churches are severely loosing interest to the young generation.  This shows that Protestant churches should not only witness to people in the 50’s and more that relatively prefer Protestant churches and have a positive feeling, but they also need to develop a program that can appeal to the teens who have the least preference of Protestant churches.

 

3) Features According to the Income of the Non-Believers

Table 16.  Features of the Non-believers’ According to Income

a: P<0.01, b: P<0.05, c: P<0.1

 

Researching the measure of preferences for Protestant churches, as the income went higher the peoples’ preference of Protestant churches went down.  Adversely, as the income went lower, the preference for Protestant churches went up.  Through this we could see that it is more effective to regard the poor as the prime target since they are more open to Protestant churches.

Looking closely at the income and reliance for the pastors, there is a slight deviation, however, to the people with high income, reliance for the pastors were low.  This can be interpreted in various ways but we can see that as the income goes up the sense of criticism becomes more intense and so the criticizing inclination towards the pastor also becomes more intense.

 

4) Features According to the Education Background of the Non-Believers

Table 17.  Features of the Non-believers’ According to Scholarly Attainments

a: P<0.01, b: P<0.05, c: P<0.1

 

According to the research, as the scholarly attainments get higher, it showed the people did not prefer Protestant churches.  Also, for reliance for pastors, as the education level went up, it appeared that the people did not rely on the pastor.  Especially in dealing with the people who had an education of grad school or higher, the preference for Protestant churches and reliance for pastors remarkably decreased.  Through this it is noticeable that non-believers with higher education level see Protestant churches critically and therefore in order to witness to these people the uplifting of the image of the church and pastor is urgent.

 

5) Measurement of Religion Preference for Non-believers

Here a different analysis was done setting the preferred religion propensities as the independent variable.  Earlier the measurement of preference for Protestant churches of non-believers of Korea turned out to be 26%.  The other religions that non-believers preferred besides Protestant churches were Buddhism, Atheism, and Catholicism, respectively.  Among various analyses in this research, I decided to present only the statistically significant contents.

Table 18.  Features of the Measurement of Religion Preference for Non-believers

a: P<0.01, b: P<0.05, c: P<0.1

 

First, looking closely at the experience of whether or not they have attended church, the non-believers with propensity for Atheism appeared to have the most experience of attending church.  This shows that the many people who used to attend the church and left do not take on a new religion.  The next significant result is the experience of being witnessed to and the feeling when being witnessed to.  When asked about the experience of being witnessed to, the results showed that atheists were the most frequently approached, and non-believers with propensity for Buddism the next.    Non-believers with propensity for Protestantism had the least experience with evangelism.  This shows that non-believers of preference for Protestantism are evangelized to the least.

 

3.  Research Conclusions and Suggestions

Several core conclusions and suggestions can be drawn from the results of this research thus far. First, this research shows that many non-believers are interested in how to fulfill their real needs.  Currently 68% of non-believers’ worries consist of their future, career, and economic status while an abstract concept such as religion does not take precedence.  Thus, there is a need for the church to show a real interest in the worries that current non-believers are troubled by.

Second, this research shows that the breakaway from the Protestant Church of Korea is a serious matter and that the church is not effective in its securing of new believers. 55% of non-believers have experienced attending the old Protestant Church.  The majority of the members that have broken away attended churches with less than 100 members (82%) and people who attended churches with less 300 members were 93%.  This shows that majority of the church members that left attended medium or small churches.  This shows that medium or small churches are experiencing a hard time in new-comer assimilation and settlement.  Small churches might have some excuses of inadequate environment (e.g. insufficient education or educators), but whatever the reason might be, it is true that they are not sufficiently ready in evangelizing and securing non-believers.

Korean churches need the obligation and strategy to introduce the gospel to new believers and bring them to salvation at least within three to six months of their church attendance.  Medium or small churches need to develop a system of nurturing and settling non-believers and establish a custom-made nurturing strategy for non-believers.  This research shows that many church members that left the church did not turn to a different religion but stayed as having no religion.  Therefore, a strategy to positively bring the church members that left and non-believers who do not have a religion back to the church is necessary.

Third, in this research it appeared that Protestant churches of Korea is putting a lot of effort into evangelizing compared to other religions.  Six to seven non-believers out of ten appeared to have been witnessed by Protestant churches.  However, with regard to the frequency of the experience of being witnessed to, non-believers with propensity for Buddism had the most response. People who preferred no religion was next.  Catholicism and Protestant Church came last.  This suggests that Korean churches are not witnessing effectively towards the group of non-believers that prefer Protestant Church.  Wisdom is just as important as eagerness for witnessing.

Fourth, this research shows that it is important to grasp an accommodating target group with an open heart towards gospel.  From this research, which mass appeared to have the highest preference for Christianity and trust for pastors?  It appeared to be the group of females, people from higher-age group, and people with low income and low education levels.  Therefore, it is necessary to have a more positive interest in these people and set up a witnessing plan.

Fifth, this research discovered that many non-believers have negative feelings towards the Korean churches’ manner of witnessing and feel that they are being forced.  According to the research results of experiences of being witnessed to, the most noticeable is the animosity towards the forceful attitude of Christianity.  Even when non-believers were being witnessed to, there were more that felt negative (36%) than positive (14%) and in the case of feeling negative, feeling of being forced took up the most percentage.  It appears that the image of Christianity as a religion that coerces, a religion with many regulations, and a religion lacking interest has been widely spread.  The animosity towards being forced and the non-believers’ low trust for the churched and pastors suggest that it is urgent for Korean churches to have a change of image.  This raises the need for Korean churches to develop a witnessing method that considers the individuality. In other words, the point is that a custom-made witnessing is really necessary.

 

To be Continued…

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