How to Share the Gospel at Holiday Gatherings

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Some of my fondest memories are of times spent with my family during the holidays. Growing up, our extended family would gather every Thanksgiving and Christmas at my grandma’s house to play Monopoly, watch football, and of course, share a huge meal. This year, we will gather again, but now I know that the holidays provide much more than a time to commune and enjoy a meal with family. More than ever, the holidays provide a great opportunity to share the gospel.

When I was younger, I didn’t give the salvation of my relatives much thought. In fact, I assumed they were all believers because they were family and really nice. Plus, my aunts, uncles, and cousins dropped in at church at least a few times a year, so surely they were Christians. Now I realize how foolish I was, and I grieve to think about all the opportunities I missed to tell my family about my Savior.

Over the next month, most of us will gather with our family for Thanksgiving and Christmas. These holiday gatherings might be the only time we see some of our relatives the entire year. While sharing Jesus with our family can be challenging, holiday gatherings might just provide us with the perfect opportunity to share the gospel with them.

Here are four practical ways we can effectively share the gospel with our family during holiday get-togethers:

Don’t Stop Praying

When it comes to sharing the gospel, we must begin with prayer, continue in prayer, and end with prayer. We must see prayer as an essential part of faithfully and effectively sharing the gospel during the holidays. Before we ever gather for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, we must plead with God to grant us opportunities to talk about Jesus and boldness to take advantage of those opportunities. Throughout our time together, we must continue in prayer, pleading with the Spirit to open up hearts and minds. And even on the drive back home, we should ask God to continue working in our loved ones’ hearts.

Prayer is essential because God alone saves. Moreover, we have an enemy who loves to distract and discourage us from telling others about Jesus. You need to be in prayer because sharing the gospel is much more than imparting information or arguing someone to your viewpoint. No matter how well you can share the gospel, your words alone can’t save your family, but God can! So don’t stop praying!

Ask Questions and Listen Well

Asking good questions is an invaluable way to move toward gospel conversations. But good questions are not enough; we also must be good listeners. Asking good questions and listening well helps your family know that you genuinely care about them. Furthermore, if they know you care, hopefully, they will listen when you share.

Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings are the only time I see some of my relatives. It means I have a lot of catching up to do if I want to know what’s been happening in their lives. Because I care about them, I ask about their careers, health, kids, and hobbies. When I ask good questions and listen intently to their answers, it helps me to understand where they are spiritually and how I can apply the good news of Jesus to the ups and downs of their life. Maybe everything is going well for them, so I encourage them to see God as a loving God who loves to bless. Or maybe their lives are falling apart, and I invite them to bring their burdens and struggles to Jesus, who can give them the rest they seek. This Thanksgiving and Christmas, take the time to ask good questions and listen well.

Share the Gospel in Conversations, Not Presentations

Years ago, my wife and I went looking at cars, and we had two drastically different experiences. At the first dealership, we were bombarded by a salesman presenting information to us, and it was overwhelming. But the second dealership was different. The saleswoman asked questions, inquired about our family, and allowed us to dictate the process. While she shared the necessary information with us, she did so through natural conversation and not in a rigid presentation. This experience caused me to step back and consider whether I was sharing the good news of Jesus in the best way possible.

As we gather with friends and family who know us well, there is a level of comfort and intimacy not typically found at work or the coffee shop. More often than not, sharing the gospel with family members within a normal conversation connects better than delivering a monologue. Telling our family members about Jesus requires sharing gospel truths, but how we share those truths matters. Reflecting on my own holiday experiences, sharing Jesus within conversations has been more natural and effective than sharing Jesus like a lecture I would deliver for a college class. This holiday season, take advantage of those conversations you have with Aunt Gertrude and Cousin Mike, telling them all about the goodness of the Lord.

Trust the Holy Spirit

Many of us hesitate to share Jesus with our family, especially at holiday gatherings. We fear sharing our faith might mess up our relationship or make Thanksgiving or Christmas awkward. We are also afraid we might force a gospel conversation a family member doesn’t want to have that turns them away from Jesus. Despite all the fears that prevent us from sharing the gospel, we should find confidence to share Jesus this holiday season because we can trust the Holy Spirit to work.

The Holy Spirit not only empowers us to be bold, but also leads us in wisdom as we seek to tell our family about Jesus. As we spend time with our family over the holidays, we can trust the Holy Spirit to open up doors to point them to Jesus. Moreover, even after the parties are over, we can trust the Holy Spirit to continue working. Praise God that even if you do not share the gospel as clearly or comprehensively as you want, you can still trust the Holy Spirit to use your conversations for good. In the end, our hope for our family’s salvation does not rest in our ability to share the gospel; our hope rests in the good news of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit’s power to change lives.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are almost here. Soon we will gather with our families to reflect on the many reasons we have to be grateful, to share a meal, and to give out presents. But this holiday season, let’s tell our families about Jesus so they can finally understand what Thanksgiving and Christmas are really about!

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Philip Crouse

Philip Crouse Jr. (PhD, SEBTS) lives in North Carolina with his wife and four children. He currently pastors Germanton Baptist Church in Germanton, NC. He also teaches as an adjunct professor at Carolina University. Philip enjoys reading and writing on pastoral ministry and the intersection of missiology and preaching.

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