My cautious conclusions about how most people become Christians were reinforced by a more empirical study sponsored by the United Bible Societies in Great Britain, led and written by John Finney. A research team received 360 completed questionnaires from converts, and they interviewed 151 converts. These 511 converts represented the range of denominations in England, from Anglican and Roman Catholic, to “Free Churches” and the “New Churches.” In Finding Faith Today: How Does It Happen? Finney reports that most people experience the faith through relationships, that they encounter the gospel through a community of faith, and that becoming a Christian involves a process that takes time. In his later book Recovering the Past, Finney summarizes their chief finding in four words. For most people, “belonging comes before believing.”
George G Hunter III, The Celtic Way of Evangelism, Tenth Anniversary Edition: How Christianity Can Reach the West . . .again (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2011).