How to Reach Your Non-Christian Relatives this Christmas

Why Is God So HiddenIt’s going to happen again this year.  You’re going to get together with a bunch of people who would rather talk about anything but Jesus.  What can you do to reach them?

Face it.  You’re probably not going to get them to accept Jesus by the end of dinner.   A direct frontal assault with facts isn’t going to work because many of them don’t want Christianity to be true.  So I think your goal should be more modest.  How about just planting and watering seeds (like Jesus and Paul did!)? In other words, getting them to doubt what they believe and/or getting them to think about the claims of Christianity.

Here are few ideas you might try:   

  1. Pray: Start praying now for opportunities and for hearts to be open.  Then volunteer to pray before the meal (No one will interrupt or critique a prayer!).   Keep the prayer short and thank God for:
    • Your family members and guests by name
    • The food
    • Coming to earth that first Christmas in the person of Jesus to pay for our sins and to offer forgiveness and salvation for free to anyone who trusts in Christ
  2. Serve: Get off the couch and serve people as if you were a real Christian!
  3. Ask:  Seriously ask people how they’ve been doing this year.  Then ask them, “Is there anything I can pray for you about?”
  4. Testify: If they ask you how you’ve been doing, fold in a story of how God is working.
  5. Agree & Affirm whatever they get right.  It will make points of disagreement more acceptable.
  6. Use Tactical Questions When They Get Something Wrong: When people make truth claims, it’s not your job to refute them—it is their job to support them. So before responding to their statements, ask these questions.
    • What do you mean by that?
    • How did you come to that conclusion? (Or what evidence do you have for that?)
    • Have you ever considered…? (Fill in the blank with the evidence you would like the person to consider).
  7. Use the Quick Answers section of the CrossExamined App to respond to specific objections.   
  8. Show them what makes your walk easier: Glo Bible, You Version Bible, CrossExamined App (people love gadgets and apps).
  9. Seed the conversation:  Depending on how the conversation goes, some of these statements may get people thinking and even get them to ask you questions.  They include:
    • If I were perfect, I wouldn’t need a Savior.
    • God won’t force people into Heaven against their will.
    • I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist.
    • The greatest miracle in the Bible is the first verse.
    • What motive did the Jewish New Testament writers have to make up a new religion?
    • If Christianity were true, would you become a Christian?

    10. Write them afterwards:  Following up on a conversation later via email can be very effective.  That’s because you can present your ideas more clearly and completely while the other person can actually consider what you are saying without feeling the pressure of having to respond immediately.  You can also include links to articles or websites for those that want to go deeper.

I hope some of these ideas will help you move people closer to the gospel this Christmas!  I’d love to hear what actually worked for you.  Please you story in a comment below or drop me an email at Frank@CrossExamined.org after the holiday.  Blessings to you this Christmas!

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8 replies
  1. JHolm says:

    This article should read: “They don’t want to be converted so STOP trying!” People only come off as pushy. It only makes atheists angry. We don’t tell others what they should or shouldn’t believe, so stop trying to get other to believe what you want them to. I HATE it when people find out that i’m an atheist and they try to convert me. It’s not an invitation! Pushing your religion on others only makes us mad. Just leave it alone.

    Reply
  2. Nondescript says:

    1) “Pray” Meh, knock your socks off. If you are praying to yourself, that’s fine. However, if you pray at someone, that’s annoying. In either case, don’t expect much results. Atheists are generally unimpressed by prayer.
    2) “Serve” That’s always a good idea, no matter what your religious beliefs are.
    3) “Ask” Asking how people are doing is fine. Don’t look for a crack in the answer where you can exclaim, “Hah, that’s why you need religion!” Again, we are unimpressed with prayer. So, if you know someone is a non-Christian, it is mildly annoying to them to be asked if you can pray for them. It implies that you don’t really respect them as non-Christians. If you want to pray for someone, just do it, preferably alone (as your Bible says, BTW).
    4) “Testify” Folding in stories about how great God is for you is obnoxious. If the conversation turns to religion, sure, let people know your beliefs. Just don’t try to inject religion into every conversation. Yes, we get it. You think God is great. Respect the fact that we think it is a myth. Take a hint if we are less than thrilled when you turn any conversation to a sermon.
    5) “Agree & Affirm” Also always good to do. I try to do this often when talking to theists. It’s called having a real conversation, instead of a lecture.
    6) “Use Tactical Questions When They Get Something Wrong” We call this the Socratic method. Basically, ask questions instead of just lecturing.
    7) “Use the Quick Answers section of the CrossExamined App” If I see someone just posting canned answers, the conversation is over. I agree that you need to know your subject well, but you have to answer in your own words. Also, don’t tell someone to go read a book or look it up. We don’t have to do your homework for you.
    8) “Show them what makes your walk easier” I guess. If you find something useful, share why it is useful. However, don’t make your whole argument, “read this and you’ll understand”. Believe me, we’ve done our homework, too. Don’t assume we haven’t read stuff just like what you’re pushing. Again, putting your thoughts in your own words and actually responding directly to a question is much better.
    9) “Seed the conversation” Again, I’m not a big fan of canned responses. All of the “seeds” you listed, I’ve heard hundreds of times in various flavors. They are not that profound.
    10) “Write them afterwards” If you are friends, you are already communicating. If you are strangers, this will come off as a used car salesman. If your only interaction with a person is pushing religion on them, that is extremely annoying.

    Reply
  3. Jason says:

    Um. no. Not so bad. Discussions are good. But harassing people about Jesus is the worst possible way to win them over. Inserting god-talk into every part of the discussion is rude. Or, in Christian speak, a bad show of hospitality. I’m an atheist. If I were subjected to this, I would politely leave to avoid a discussion nobody would appreciate or enjoy. However, an atheist trying their very best to be respectful of their family’s religious inclinations might feel an obligation to stand up for themselves. Then everyone would decide the atheist was being disrespectful of god when you all know that crossexamined told you to harass them until they couldn’t take it anymore. Try this: ask if they’re interested. When they say no, talk about something else. If they say yes, proceed. If either party seems uncomfortable, move on to other things. Basic courtesy and etiquette in any social situation. They’re family not marks for your con game.

    Reply
  4. Thomas Bennett says:

    Here’s a novel thought…don’t. We live in the largest Judeo-Christian nation on the planet. You’ve had 2000 years to tell us all about Jesus. In the last 50 years you’ve had mass media to rely upon. It’s a pretty safe bet that everyone has heard your “good news”. If they’ve chosen to ignore you it isn’t out of ignorance or because you haven’t effectively “reached” them with the message. It is because they are not interested.

    I am interested in a lot of things, some of which most people aren’t aware of or familiar with. At times I will talk about my interests but I am keenly aware of how that is received. If the person, or people, I am speaking with seem interested I will elaborate. If not I am not offended and I don’t redouble my efforts to dominate the conversation with my views.

    To do so would simply alienate the people with whom I am talking and demonstrate that I am not interested in them as anything but an audience for my monologue.

    If you have friends or family who have consistently rejected what you are trying to tell them that’s not a sign that you should find another way to “reach” them. It’s a sign that they aren’t interested and have been too polite to tell you so in terms you would understand.

    It’s a sign that they aren’t interested, aren’t going to be interested, and would really rather have you drop the subject. If you are unwilling to cease then you should be prepared for the polite ones to begin avoiding you and the less polite ones to tell you to shove off.

    If all you care about is being able to expound upon your religious beliefs perhaps you should find new people to hang around with…or a pulpit.

    The downfall of your religion will be that you can’t keep it to yourself even when it s obvious that you should. Religion, including and particularly Christianity, is intrusive…you think you’re on a holy mission to save us wayward sinners – whether we like it or not.

    To us you’re like an Amway salesman who won’t take no for an answer…pretty damned annoying.

    Reply
  5. Melina says:

    Thank you, Frank! As surprised as I was to see only 4 comments, and all from atheist so far, they are nothing more than another reproof and reminder of what Jesus warns us, as we approach the end times. With that said I am also reminded of LUKE 6:23 ” Rejoice is that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in Heaven.” – Jesus’ instruction for those who are hated, insuited and rejected because of Him. Peace, and thank you again, much learned on my end!

    Reply
  6. Michael says:

    These are great points and a great article. I have used these tactics and seen them bare fruit. My favorite part are the comments and proof that atheists are reading crossexamined! Thank you for all you do Mr. Turek. The Truth Will Set You Free!

    Reply
  7. Emma says:

    Thank you for this article. It breaks my heart that so many atheists are discouraging this, but praise be to God for leading them to this site. I hope that your words will continue to help others as much as they have helped me.

    Reply

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