We know Christmas is about the gift of love and the gift of peace, but how about the gift of truth?
If you’re a believer, you may experience the tension between just having a meetup and wanting to share the good news with your friends. This is especially true during Christmas, being reminded of the reason for the season.
What we may be less conscious about is why pre-believing friends may reject our invitations to hang out in December. As I reflected on why my invitations had been turned down, I found that there are two useful things to keep in mind about evangelism during seasons like Christmas.
1. BE TRUTHFUL ABOUT YOUR INTENT
While it can seem awkward to be upfront with your friends, I learnt that many of them are already wary of our intentions when we invite them out during the Christmas season, especially if it is to a church event.
Sometimes I feel like I am being baited to an event with the promise of good food or a good time, only to be subjected to conversations about a topic that I would not want to be a part of.
In the same way, some of my pre-believing friends reject my invitation to a church musical or Christmas party because they know that they would have to sit through something that they would be uncomfortable with after the main event.
The game-changer was when I started to be honest with my friends.
I would tell them that I have been praying for them, and that I would like to invite them to an event to tell them more about Jesus. Then I would add that the musical or the party is the bonus!
We must reflect the love and grace of God in the other 11 months of the year.
When my friends know what they are in for, they tend to respond more truthfully. They might say that they would skip this event, but are open to meeting up with me. They might also say that they can give the event a try, just to “see see and listen”.
It’s about being respectful to your friends. And this way, you also learn whether they are open to the Gospel. You can then pray and approach the topic in a more sensitive manner.
It takes courage to have honest conversations with our friends, but being vulnerable opens up the heart of not just the person who is sharing, but also the hearer.
2. BE TRUTHFUL ABOUT YOUR COMMITMENT
Have we ever asked ourselves why we’re reaching out to a particular friend? Do we actually care about building a relationship with this friend?
And if our friend does accept Christ during a Christmas evangelistic event, would we be willing to follow up with him or her and walk them through the journey of a young Christian? Are we prepared for tough questions?
Or is inviting our pre-believing friends to Christmas evangelistic events and telling them about Jesus a once a year thing that we do without much thought?
Our choices and lifestyles must reflect the love and grace of God in the other 11 months of the year. This is a special season, but it’s not a reason to stumble our pre-believing friends by showing up for them for just a few days of merry fun.
It’s not too late to start equipping yourself or committing yourself to sharing the Gospel. Here are five practical suggestions to consider while evangelising during the Christmas season.
- Reflect by asking yourself to articulate the reason for your faith and why you want to reach out to a particular friend. This is so you can offer a coherent reason for why you are reaching out to your friend.
- Pray for God to reveal who you should reach out to this year. Then commit to following up with prayer and intentional meetups.
- Ask fellow Christian friends to partner with you in reaching out to mutual friends. That makes things less daunting, and it’s also more fun to pray and do things in groups.
- Tell your friends that you have been praying for them in Christmas cards and gifts. Many are touched by the simple fact that somebody would even pray for them. You can also add a line about how you have achieved your resolutions for the year – but give glory to God’s grace and empowerment. This helps your friends see how God has been real in your life.
- Partner with your church’s ministries or outreach programmes so that there will be follow-up with the friends you invite to church in the event you cannot personally journey with.
While it takes a lot of courage to be truthful, I hope that these few points will help you spend Christmas in a more intentional and meaningful way. Perhaps truth is one of the best things you can give to your loved ones this Christmas.
Looking somewhere to bring your pre-believing friends so that they can hear the Gospel message presented in creative ways? Check out our guide on the best places events and places to visit this Christmas.