Turning conversations to Jesus Christ should be easier on holidays such as: Christmas and Easter. One-on-one conversations may be wiser than trying to engage a whole group. Evangelism conversations will attract others, naturally curious, and who are bored with lesser topics. As with other conversation starters, questions are in order. Showing an earnest concern for another person is rare, and caring for another soul is almost completely foreign, in the age of the distracting smart phone.
The first thing to remember is that God ordains our personal encounters with others. He is the One who directs your steps (Prv 3:5–6). Knowing this makes every new engagement an exciting prospect. You never know who God will have ready, to receive your testimony and witness. Your testimony is your irrefutable account of what Christ has done for you, personally. Your witness is the Scripture you will employ to speak of Christ’s Person and work.
The second thing is that you need not force the issue. Sprinkling your speech with biblical terms such as: “blessed”; “gracious”; and “mercy” will help identify you. Other Christians will approach you and prompt you with their own questions about the state of your faith. Never underestimate the power of having a Christian-to-Christian conversation with others listening in. Believers speak in the tongues of heaven. In other words, we speak of things others do not converse about (ie. incarnation; resurrection; propitiation; etc.).
The third thing is to find common ground or special interests. For example, a relative who is particularly political could be prompted by, “Hey, uncle, did you see that magazine that called for President Trump to be removed from office?’” Sure, the conversation will have Trump (or Biden) in it, but your task is to re-focus the conversation on to Christianity Today, and then the relationship between religion and politics, before talking about where one’s legitimate hope should reside…Jesus Christ.
The fourth thing is that most conversations about religious matters will try to stay on the periphery. The centerpiece of evangelism is the Person and work of Jesus Christ. You must be conscious that you only have so much time, so making every effort to segue back to Jesus, must be your priority. Cultivating minds and planting Gospel seed will move your speech away from morality and ethics and toward the solution to man’s sin problem.
The fifth thing — most evangelism conversations have this in common: they expose differing opinions in one’s view of the Bible. Here is our fundamental work at all times. You will have to give a defense of the validity and authority of Scripture. Explaining how God’s Spirit inspired the authorship of the Bible will not save anyone, but others expect you to only have “a blind leap of faith” to support your trust in the Bible. They may be a bit surprised to know there is more to the Word of God than they knew before meeting you.
The sixth thing is to relax. You are not there to, “close the deal.” The Lord knows those who are His (2 Tim 2:19), and He knows each one’s current spiritual status. Did you pray before your Christmas gathering? Did you ask God to bring to remembrance the Bible verses that will be most beneficial? Holiday encounters where you fumble around trying to remember passages, but fail, means you will have a good conviction afterward. Simply put, be prepared.
Helping unbelievers and believers is like having a giant jigsaw puzzle in front of them, and you are there to help them place a piece or two into that puzzle. Do not worry. God knows how to send others to your encounter partner. A positive exchange does hold the potential for more conversations in the future.
The seventh thing is that it is Christmas, so make sure you know your Christmas story. From Old Testament prophecies of Christ’s incarnation (Is 7:14; 9:6; Mic 5:2), to the fact that the incarnation is an essential element to understanding salvation, there is much to know.
Christmas is not just about Jesus being a baby, born into an awkward marriage set up, of a dislocated Jewish family, staying in unfortunate overnight accommodations because of a tax hungry regional government. It is not about giving gifts to one another, or festive decorations, or fatty foods. Jesus’ birth was about the incarnation of God’s eternal Son (Is 9:6; Jn 1:14), for the purpose of offering up His body (Heb 10:5), as a substitute sacrifice for the atonement of God’s elect people (Rom 5:8; Eph 1:4–5).
The true meaning of Christmas is its precursory and essential role in the life, death, and resurrection of the God-man. This subject matter is not the typical topic content for our Christmas-lite-riddled, “reason for the season,” rhetoric. Therefore, your Christmas gathering evangelism could be one of the most informative, educational encounters your conversation partner may ever remember.
Finally, the last thing is that all of this is of God. It is God’s Spirit, who is willing and working God’s purposes (Ps 57:2; 138:8; Is 26:12; Phil 2:13). He is the One who brings to remembrance the Scriptures (Jn 14:26). He prompts utterance, and with His blessing, salvation is made known and finds its application, according to His will. Salvation belongs to the Lord (Ps 3:8; Jon 2:9; Rev 19:1), and He does all His will (Eph 1:11), even preparing and executing these good works through us. Happy Incarnation Day!
Spokane Valley, Washington
December 23, 2021