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New Believers

Of the believers we interviewed, 95% made a decision for Christ through the direct influence of a trusted friend. Natural mode evangelism was by far the single biggest contributing factor.

Students are still coming to Christ, though perhaps not by the same means that they did 30 years ago.  We suggest that not only have the times changed, but so have the avenues into a New Believer’s heart.  Today more than ever, that road is navigated via the vehicle of a trusted friend.

We interviewed 30 college students between the ages of 18-23 from different ethnicities and geographical locations who have come to faith in Christ within the past 12 months.  The goal was to identify obstacles that kept them from coming to faith earlier, identify the ministry mode that most assisted them to receive Christ, and understand their personal reasons for placing their faith in Christ.

Consider the three main findings of these interviews:

• Relationships are key.
Our research shows that each person is unique, with different obstacles to faith in Christ.  What was consistent, however, is that nearly every student we interviewed came to Christ via a friend.

• New Believers needed someone to take the initiative with them before they were willing to place their faith in Christ.
Typically someone else took the initiative to reach out to the student.  Approximately 5% trusted Christ by themselves.  Though a few students identified a ministry-mode approach, the vast majority of New Believers most clearly connected to Christ via a natural-mode of evangelism, sometimes supplemented by the body-mode of a Cru weekly large group.

• New Believers needed someone to correct misconceptions they had about God.
Many New Believers expressed having had misconceptions and a lack of understanding about what it meant to be a Christian.  Often the Christians they knew while growing up exacerbated their misconceptions.  In fact, though many New Believers grew up around Christianity, they would say that they’d never really heard a clear presentation of the gospel before college.

For more details on the results of the New Believer interviews, please see the full report, “New Believers.”

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