The holidays are a time when we get to see friends and family that we don’t normally get to see. For most of us, that means spending time with some of those who are closest to us who are not Christians. It’s a great opportunity to share the gospel, but for many of us, talking to close friends or family about Jesus is the most difficult conversation we can have.
Randy Newman has recently come out with a book called Bringing the Gospel Home. Recommending books you haven’t read is generally, well, not recommended, but I got so much out of Randy Newman’s previous book Questioning Evangelism, and I found the video below so helpful, that I’d encourage you to check it out. And right now it’s FREE, so it’s hard to go wrong there. You can download a free PDF or eBook version of the book here.
For a few highlights, check out this video. In it, Newman gives some really practical advice to help you share the gospel with your friends and family:
- Saturate yourself in the gospel. One of the reasons that family members sometimes dismiss our faith is because they’re the ones who are closest to us – they see our highs and our lows, so they’re the most likely to notice any shallowness or even phoniness on our part. The more we grow in the gospel, not only will our lives change, but the more humble and genuine we will be about our strengths and our weaknesses.
- Find common ground instead of always focusing on differences. Newman says, “How many times do we try to do evangelism by first convincing people how miserable they are? Isn’t there something missing in your life? Aren’t you empty? Aren’t you longing? And I think there are a lot of our friends and family who are just not as empty as we’d like them to be, so that they would be hungering. But if they could say, look at how good life is, look at all we have, where does that come from?” Share how good life is because God is creator.
- Brainstorm 12 things you could say. Most of us focus on trying to come up with that one right thing to say, and it paralyzes us. Instead, come up with several, and throw out the bad ones.
- Deepen your conversation about non-spiritual things. Learn how to talk about non-spiritual things in a way that leadsto the spiritual. Don’t open the conversation with the Romans Road.
- Don’t wait until it’s comfortable. “Comfortable evangelism is an oxymoron, at least for most people…Most people do not have the gift of evangelism.”
- Remember it takes time. Instant results are rare. Be willing to take one step at a time, working incrementally.
- Witnessing to family members takes love. Love people genuinely. Remember they are people, not projects.
- Don’t be surprised if it’s difficult. We usually think that if we know the right thing to say, it will be easy, but often it’s not. Witnessing to your family takes faith. Continually go back to the gospel to remind yourself of the hope we all have in Christ, and the power of the gospel to save.