Bringing the gospel home: Part 1
This series of three blog posts is taken from a talk Randy gave at the Christianity Explored North America conference in May 2019. Content has been adapted from material in Randy's book, Bringing the Gospel Home: Witnessing to Family Members, Close Friends, and Others Who Know You Well, published by Crossway, 2011.
Why is witnessing to family so difficult?
I am always amused when I get asked to speak and write about evangelism because I am an evangelistic chicken.
A few weeks ago I invited a neighbour to an Easter service. I was so nervous walking across the street to invite them to this event, and I thought to myself, “you write books about evangelism and you’re a nervous wreck!”
But then I thought, “You know what, that’s OK. My confidence is not in my confidence. My confidence is not in how fearless I am.” I love that even the apostle Paul experienced this (1 Corinthians 2:3) - that’s my kind of evangelism.
And if you thought talking to strangers was difficult, how about witnessing to family? I come from a Jewish family and so I know how challenging it can be.
Sometimes people seem surprised that witnessing to family is so different, and more difficult, than witnessing to other people and I think there are a few main reasons that we find it so hard:
1. We have emotionally deep relationships with our families
We have known our families for our whole lives. With our families we experience greater joys and greater frustrations. We can be quicker to anger, and often family members require the most amount of patience.
2. Our allegiances are more conflicted
Some of us come from family backgrounds where family is ultimate, the highest priority. When we become Christians we learn that family is secondary to our relationship with God, so allegiance is tested in painful ways.
Others of us come from difficult families and we are thrilled to get away from them, but as Christians we are told to honour our parents and love our families.
3. Spiritually the stakes are higher
Family is high priority for God. He created marriage before the fall and the Bible time and again uses marriage as a picture of Christ and the church, sin is described as spiritual adultery and heaven is likened to a marriage supper. Family is the place where godliness is to be trained and it is the epicentre for discipleship. This means the family is also high priority for the devil. He hates families and marriage and wants to distort and destroy it. So the family is a particularly intense spiritual battle.
Next week Randy will share his thoughts on the most important thing for witnessing to family and close friends.
Do you find sharing the gospel with your family difficult? Let us know in the comments below.