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:
- 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
- Serve: Get off the couch and serve people as if you were a real Christian!
- Ask: Seriously ask people how they’ve been doing this year. Then ask them, “Is there anything I can pray for you about?”
- Testify: If they ask you how you’ve been doing, fold in a story of how God is working.
- Agree & Affirm whatever they get right. It will make points of disagreement more acceptable.
- 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).
- Use the Quick Answers section of the CrossExamined App to respond to specific objections.
- Show them what makes your walk easier: Glo Bible, You Version Bible, CrossExamined App (people love gadgets and apps).
- 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!
Free CrossExamined.org Resource
Get the first chapter of "Stealing From God: Why Atheists Need God to Make Their Case" in PDF.