“almost half of those surveyed just have no familiarity with who we are”
This is most disheartening. We spend a lot of time discussing our “Baptist Identity.” It seems that the people we are supposed to be trying to reach are not in on the discussion.
“Among the unchurched people who expressed an opinion, almost three times as many said [a church’s identifying itself as Southern Baptist] it would have a negative impact [on their feelings for toward that church].” – This held true even in the southern states.
It’s startling. We have a long way to go. But we are ot without hope:
...it may be more difficult to engage them in church based evangelism. It will require us to build relationships with them in order to break the negative image they hold before many will consider the claims of Christ. But in spite of this, the opportunities are great. Many recent studies have shown that the unchurched are willing to listen and consider the claims of the gospel… we must encounter people in the flow of life to have an impact. We must think incarnationally and not just attractionally to reach the unchurched today. And the way to do that is to get outside our church facilities where the people are, and bring them inside where we are.
The short version seems to be that people are interested in Christ, just not our part of His church. I for one will try to learn to be more interested in them than I am in us.