By Lonnie Wilkey
There has been growing evidence over the past two decades that Christians are becoming increasingly reluctant to openly share their faith. Research from The Barna Group, LifeWay Christian Research and others in recent years confirm that more and more Christians are having fewer gospel conversations.
That leads to the question: Why? Why are people who affirm their faith in Jesus so unwilling to share their faith with others. One reason is fear.
We are afraid of what people will think about us if we talk about Jesus Christ. We are afraid of being ridiculed. We simply need to get over it. Jesus was not afraid to die on the cross for you and me. We shouldn’t be afraid to tell others of His love for them.
Another barrier is that when people are asked if they have gospel conversations, they don’t really understand the question. A gospel conversation does not mean you give a theological discourse. A gospel conversation is anything that allows you to tell others at some point about what God has done in your life.
I think sometimes we fear that people will run in the other direction if we even mention the name “Jesus.”
We need to get over our fears and turn them over to God. We need to enter every conversation with a strong belief that God will give us the words to say. He won’t leave us alone if opportunity arises.
Christmas is one of the best seasons of the year to bring Christ into a conversation. After all, you can’t spell Christmas without “Christ.” For Christians, the Christmas season provides numerous opportunities to share our faith.
Christians, and especially Tennessee Baptists, are a benevolent people. All across our state, Tennessee Baptist churches and members are helping needy people in their communities, around our state and around our world.
Tennessee Baptists recently collected more than 5,000 Christmas backpacks for needy children in Tennessee. Numerous churches have participated in other similar benevolent ministries.
In addition, churches across Tennessee are collecting funds for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering which is used to spread the good news of Jesus Christ around the world.
When Baptists and Christians show the love of Christ to others, it becomes much easier to talk about that love. In most cases, people will ask why you are willing to provide gifts to their children or food on their table. The answer is simple. “Jesus loves you and so do we.”
Hopefully, that simple answer will generate another question about who Jesus is and you’re off to the races. You have been given an open door to share your faith and your testimony. We must take advantage of those opportunities.
Many Baptist churches are currently in the process of preparing for Christmas dramas, musicals, living nativities, and more. Use these opportunities to reach out to nonbelievers. You might never get them to attend a Sunday morning worship service, but they just might come to a Christmas drama or musical. You never know until you ask. Even if they say no, you have planted a seed in their mind.
Speaking of seeds, when someone wishes you “Happy Holidays,” respond with a smile and a cheery “I hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year as well.” Don’t get caught in a debate over terms. Just use the term that comes naturally to Christians.
After all, Christ is the reason for the season. Don’t be afraid to tell others what Christmas is about – the birth of our Lord and Savior who one day would take the sins of the world on His shoulders so that all who confess His name and believe in Him will have everlasting life.
Jesus is the reason we can celebrate Christmas. Without Jesus, it’s just another day. Proclaim His good news! B&R