According to a study by Barna Research Group in 2013, only 52 percent of born again believers shared their faith at least once within a year. The study didn't include the reasoning. Perhaps people struggle the same way I do. It may be a result of the awkwardness of starting the conversation about the gospel. Or maybe it's the result of not knowing many people outside of Christian circles. Maybe it's because people don't want to come across as "pushy" or don't know all the answers.
But there are many ways we can share the gospel, right from our own homes in our own neighborhood. Here are a few ideas that I've used and others have shared that can help you share your faith by using your home as a hub for Christ.
1. Use holidays to your advantage. Holidays give you an excuse to bring gifts to your neighbors. Bake cookies for Christmas. Hand out recipes at Thanksgiving. Put together a neighborhood recipe book, and include a story about Jesus, or feature Scriptures with the gospel message. Have an Easter egg hunt at your house.
At each one of these holiday outreaches, pass out gospel tracts with gifts. A gospel tract is an easy way to announce, "I'm a Christian" without blurting it out awkwardly. And by passing it out with a gift, you don't have to worry about rejection. They can just throw it away later if they don't want it. But now they know where to go when they need spiritual help.
2. Pass out candy and tracts at Halloween. I want to point out this holiday specifically. I realize that many Christians don't celebrate Halloween, and that's okay. But even when you don't want your children to participate in dressing up and trick-or-treating, I want to encourage you to pass out candy—good candy—with gospel tracts to the people who come to your house.
Halloween is a great way to evangelize because the world is coming to you. It's a wonderful opportunity to show the love of Christ and hospitality to strangers. I've actually passed out gospel tracts that have a story about where Halloween comes from, and it gives the gospel at the end. There are tracts produced that are coloring books for kids, joke books, and other fun material. Any of them are good and can plant seeds that you may never see the fruit of until we all meet in heaven.
3. Get to know your neighbors. Use yard sales and neighborhood events to your advantage. But even when you don't have an excuse, it's perfectly acceptable to knock on a neighbor's door and introduce yourself. Bring them a "get to know you" cake, bread, or a plate of cookies. We live in a world where there is much isolation thanks to computers and smart phones. But it's hard to have conversations, especially deep spiritual conversations, with people you don't know. If you don't ever put in an effort to get to know them, then you may not ever get the chance.
4. Minister at public areas in and around your neighborhood. Look for opportunities to pass out water, lemonade, and other handouts at local parks, bike trails, and running events. And don't forget the gospel tracts to go along with it.
My two children and I recently did this at our local park. We had sacks with water, snacks, and a tract, and as we approached, we explained that we were with our church and wanted to bless them with a gift. Almost everyone was grateful to get the package, and the kids loved it! We even ran across a family of Hindus, who seemed somewhat suspicious, but graciously received the sacks anyway. Now we're praying that God used our tracts to plant new seeds.
5. Love your spouse. When you speak to friends and neighbors, don't speak poorly of your spouse. Your marriage is an example of God's love for His bride. In Ephesians 5:31-32, Paul explains, "'Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church." The love between man and wife is the closest thing on earth we have to the kind of love that God has for His people—an everlasting covenant for which we are chosen and brought into the family of God.
When you speak well of your spouse, you will stand out in our culture. It's important not to be fake or hide your problems, but you need to genuinely say positive things about who your spouse is and share how you have and will overcome difficult circumstances.
If you've gotten into a habit of badmouthing your mate, talk to your pastor and ask God to help you control your tongue and start making your marriage a witness. As you grow in appreciation for your spouse, you will notice people coming to you for help and you can give them the best help they can get—a relationship with Christ.
6. Host a Bible study for your neighborhood. When I was a child, I lived in a tough neighborhood. Drug dealers and gang members roamed our streets. But my mother and father were dedicated Christians, and they started a weekly neighborhood Bible study that was hosted at a friend's house. My father led the adults, and my mother taught Bible stories and Scriptures to the children. The people who came to these studies were mostly unchurched, but through my parents they heard the good news of Christ.
7. Use social media to share your God story. Social media has done as much harm to the Christian faith as it has good. But each of us can be a solution to the problem. The internet is the gateway to the world, right from your own home. Anything you say can be read by anyone and shared with anyone at any time. So rather than use your social media page to debate and protest, let it be a place where you spread your faith, share your testimony, and bring hope to a desperate world.
Each day you can share what you're learning from God, how you've been encouraged, and what blessings you've been given in both words of wisdom and deed. Instead of a page full of protests, let your page be one filled with praise.
8. Pray for you neighborhood. Never underestimate the power of prayer in the lives of those around you. Spend time on your knees for your neighbors; cry out for their souls on their behalf. Pray that God would open doors for you to get to know them and give them the key to everlasting life. Ask God for the boldness to be a witness for His kingdom. When your neighbors share difficulties, pray for their healing and peace, and then let them know that you prayed for them. You can even print off postcards that say "I prayed for you today," and then share the things God laid on your heart or a Scripture that the Holy Spirit gave to you. You never know how your prayers will change their hearts!
9. Mentor someone. Bring a young person to your home and share your life with them. Reach out to local ministries. The international ministries at local universities are always looking for families to talk to international students. All you have to do is invite them over and talk to them about your culture and your faith. What most Americans don't understand is that international students want you to talk about your Christian beliefs. They expect it to be a part of your life.
10. Use your money to help people that you can't reach on your own. Sponsor a child; give to a ministry; and most importantly, tithe to your local church. Your money is one of your greatest resources for reaching the world for Christ. Missionaries need Bibles, food, clothing. Children need education, which requires books and school supplies. Villages need churches, shelters, running water. And all it means for you is giving up a couple of trips to Starbucks each week.
Many people I've talked to don't tithe to their local church because they feel like they are only paying the light bills or making the pastor rich. But in reality, most of the tithe money being given to many churches goes to support local organizations, like feeding the homeless or supporting crisis pregnancies, and international missionaries. Tithing to your church (or at the very least, giving any amount that you can each week!) makes a tremendous impact on spreading the gospel.
There's nothing pushy about being a friend, giving to your church, or sharing what God is doing in your life. There are many ways to be a light in our dark culture that don't require making people feel attacked or chased down. Give one of these suggestions a try, and then search your heart to see how God is calling you to share your faith. You'll be surprised at how well most people receive your kindness and your message!
Copyright © 2017 by Sabrina McDonald