A few days ago, I came across a small card that I used to give to men that I was discipling. The title at the top of the card was “My Ten Most Wanted.” The card had ten numbered lines where we could write the names of ten Non-Christians that we wanted to see come to Christ. I found a similar card on the Internet that I inserted in the photo above.
I actually laughed out loud when I looked at it and thought, “It would be amazing if people had three names on one of these lists!” I recently asked one fellow that I’ve been mentoring how many Non-Christian friends he has. At first, he said, “One.” Later he changed that to “Three.” But only because he remembered to friends from college who now live in a different city. So locally, he only had one Non-Christian friend.
That’s not unusual. There has been research for years that shows that the average Christian no longer has any Non-Christian friends after three years in the faith. Often that is the result of someone teaching us not to be unequally yoked (2 Corinthians 6:14), and to that we should separate from the world (2 Corinthians 6:17).
As I thought longer about it, I decided to see how my Facebook friends might answer the question. So, I created a survey, posted it on Facebook, and watched to see what happened. I removed some responses that I thought were extreme. For example, two people said they were personal friends with 50 co-workers. How is that even possible? Many of us don’t have more than ten co-workers that we regularly interact with.
Without those extremes, people indicated that they had no more than five Non-Christian co-workers as personal friends. One-third of those people said they did not have a personal friend among their Non-Christian co-workers. On average, Christians had two friends among their co-workers.
I also asked a question about personal friends among Non-Christian neighbors (either on their block or in their apartment building). I again took out the extremes. The same person who was friends with 50 co-workers was friends with 12 neighbors. Most of us can’t name 12 of our neighbors, much less call them personal friends.
Without the extreme neighbor responses, 80 percent of respondents consider five or less of their neighbors to be personal friends. This time only had felt that he had no personal friend among his neighbors. A pretty good improvement in the neighbor category! Unless you look at the average. The average Christian responding had 2.1 friends among their neighbors.
A third question I asked was among personal friends among Non-Christians in a “third place” (coffee shop, gym, playground, other regular social venues). Again, someone claimed to have 50 personal friends among this group (for a total of 112 personal friends who are Non-Christians). Those extremes were once again removed from the total.
In this third place category, the respondents claimed to have an average of 2 personal friends who were Non-Christians. Yet, 50 percent of these Christians did not have anyone among their third place venues that they felt were personal friends.
This survey is still active, and I’m looking for more results. Yet, it already helps me understand what people are facing about sharing the gospel in the most common places where they live, work, and play. On average, the survey shows that the average Christian only has 6.1 person friends among the Non-Christians around them. But many of those below the average do not have more than one Non-Christian friends from any of these three places where we are most likely to interact with unbelievers.
That means for more than half of the survey respondents, asking them to pray for ten Non-Christians who live, work, or play among them is futile. They simply don’t know that many Non-Christians.
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Would you like to add your answers to this survey? You can find it at: