We are now down to the last few days before we celebrate Christmas. We have had a couple very fruitful Sundays where we have been able to turn our hearts and minds to the wonder of our Lord’s incarnation, so it is my prayer that each of our church families will endeavor to keep the focus on Christ as we proceed with the observance of this holiday.
Many of us will either be traveling to be with family and friends or we will be hosting family and friends in our homes over the next several days. For most of us, this means we will have the opportunity to have extended times of interaction with unsaved loved ones. While witnessing to those closest to us is often difficult (even Jesus was not welcomed by those who knew Him best (Matt 13:53-58)), we are never excused from seeking to share the gospel with unbelievers. Thus, I want to give us a few helpful suggestions on how to start evangelistic conversations as we are with unsaved loved ones this Christmas.
Now before giving you these suggestions, I want to encourage two steps of preparation. First, you should always pray for those you are seeking to engage in gospel conversation. Pray for them by name, pray specifically for God to prepare their hearts, and pray for personal boldness and for your words to be the words of Scripture. Second, be prepared to share the true gospel. You could use the Roman Road or our GRACE outline or another Scriptural presentation. Remember, true evangelism is sharing the reality of holy God, the standard of God’s law, the plight of human sinfulness, the eternal penalty of hell, the beauty of Christ’s atoning work on our behalf, and the call to repent and believe in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. That being said, here are some good ways to initiate Gospel conversations:
1. Show a sincere concern for loved ones by conversing with them about specific challenges and triumphs they have faced during the past year. It may center around family life, work, or other pursuits, but take time to demonstrate a real interest in them. Then direct the conversation to eternal concerns by asking a question like “So how are you doing spiritually?” This question can evoke a variety of responses, some of them less than favorable, but at least it directs them to weigh matters beyond our daily activities and pursuits. If they do respond favorably, be prepared to lead them to the truth of Scripture, or if you are accused of being “preachy,” at least try to share a personal word of testimony about how your faith in Christ has guided and sustained you in the past year.
2. Take advantage of the spirit of “tradition.” Unchurched loved ones are more easily persuaded to attend church at holidays like Christmas and Easter if they consider it a matter of “tradition” as opposed to “devotion.” Take advantage of their sentiment by attending a service where the gospel will be faithfully proclaimed. If you are out-of-town, you may need to research the location and service times of a solid biblical church, but it will be well worth it to guide everyone to a biblical service. Go with them to hear the gospel and then follow up the service with a question like “So what did you think of the message the pastor gave?” It is a great discussion starter.
3. Use opportunities to pray to share the gospel. Even unbelievers still tend to practice the tradition of saying “grace” before important holiday meals. And usually, the one who is known to be a “devoted” Christian is asked to say it for the family. As you may be given opportunity, be prepared to share the gospel through your prayer. It is so easy to turn prayers of thankfulness for food into prayers of thankfulness for God’s mercy in saving us from judgment through the sacrifice of Christ.
4. Look for ways to insert the reading of Scripture into Christmas observances. Once again, favorable views of “tradition” can open the door to the reading of the Christmas story from Matthew or Luke on Christmas Eve or on Christmas morning. Don’t be afraid to talk to your loved ones about inserting such times of reading into the schedule, and when given such opportunities, don’t be afraid to speak briefly about why Christ came to earth as the baby Jesus. After such brief devotional opportunities, engage lost loved ones with questions about what they believe about the real meaning of Christmas.
I pray you will use these helpful hints to generate evangelistic opportunities over the next couple weeks. Remember, if you are in Christ, then you are a child of the King and an instrument of His glory. Do not hide your light under a bushel, but set it out that it might give light to everyone. (Matt 5:16) God bless you all, and MERRY CHRISTMAS my beloved!