There are few Christian behaviors more repelling than when Christians get pushy with others who don’t follow Jesus. Yes, Christ asks us to not be ashamed of our faith and we want to share what we love with those we love. But, people aren’t always repelled by our faithful devotion; they are often repelled by our quirky cultural isolation, social awkwardness, or exclusive ways of treating others.
Knowing this however, I don’t want to swing the pendulum completely to the “then don’t share your faith, or only model your faith without words” approach. My Christian faith is the most important aspect of my life, and I still believe to my toes that the very best gift I can give another person is an introduction to the God who loves them. So how can we share Christ without pushing others away?
Here are 3 suggestions this holiday season of how we can make an impact without repelling others.
1. Be disrupt-able (I made up that word). Opportunities to help others and share Christ will always seem like a disruption in the moment. They just do. Our normal routines produce natural results. If we want God to do supernatural things through lives, we need to let Him disrupt our natural way of doing things. Today, God will provide a chance for you to share a kind word, to help someone with above-and-beyond energy, to ask someone how you can pray or be a support in his or her life. The disrupted moments of our have enormous potential, but it’s up to us to allow a disruption to turn into a divine appointment.
2. Throw a party. Matthew the tax collector, meets Jesus, then invites Jesus and all of his tax collector, sinner friends over. Cornelius the Roman Centurion invited all of his relatives and friends over to hear from Peter. The parties were undoubtedly enjoyable and many people found faith because of it. The power of a good party with the right people and great conversation can be an unstoppable Kingdom of building tool.
If you don’t know what to do to build genuine relationships with others just start by throwing a party this holiday season. Don’t be intimidated by the work, start small and invite a few people over, but be creative about it. Push the fire pit to the front of your home, brew up some hot chocolate and see who hangs out. Throw an egg-nog party with different flavors of egg-nog (people will come to that!). Throw a pie breakfast party the first day that school lets out. Build bridges relationally so Christ can draw people into his love and grace.
3. Invite people to hear. Parties build relational bridges. But there is an unmistakable truth; the gathering of the church, with relevant life-changing Biblical teaching continues to be the most fruitful way that people discover Christ (when combined with relationship building outside the church and if your church is working well). Take a risk and invite someone to the holiday services at your local church. You don’t have to be the one to share about Christ, but your church, through the arts and poetry and times of meaningful prayer, and through a well-prepared relevant talk, might help the spiritual conversations along. It’s probably best to combine the invite with another party too – Christmas Eve service, then hors d’oeuvres back at the house will almost always be a valued invitation.
We can share our faith with authentic love and we don’t have to be pushy about it. What step will you take this Christmas season to give the very best gift to someone you love?