Ed Stetzer on Reaching Out to Non-Believers This Holiday Season

Going to church, believe it or not, can be a controversial topic around the holiday season. Some of us go consistently each week, some of us used to go, and some of us have vowed to never walk through the halls of a church again.

Everyone comes from different families, cultures, and backgrounds and thus we all have different stories in this regard.

Recently, I was having a conversation with my Uber driver about her experience in church. As we spoke, she shared that at one point she had been attending pretty frequently but has since found herself less engaged. During the course of our time together, as a pastor of course, I couldn’t help but suggest that she might reconsider her decision.

You see, we all know people like my Uber driver across many spectrums. Many have a complex relationship with churchgoing over the course of their individual lifetimes. Some are believers who have gone; others are believers who’ve stopped going altogether.

Others still actually aren’t believers at all, but perhaps people who are trying church out for the first time—in fact, chances are, there are people like that sitting next to you in service more Sundays than not.

Around the holiday times each year, followers of Christ have the opportunity to enter into spiritual conversations with family members and friends. Many of those conversations will likely end up at the very least touching on the subject of church in some way, shape, or form.

According to Scott McConnell, the executive director of LifeWay Research, that despite our many assumptions, the reality is that “many would welcome going to a Christmas service with someone they know.”

A study performed by LifeWay Research shows that across the country, Americans are much more likely to attend church at Christmastime. When asked the question: “If someone you know invited you to attend church with them at Christmas, how likely would you be to attend?” Over half (57%) of respondents said they’d be likely to come.

As we see here, relationships are a significant means through which people can be reached with the gospel.

Now, of course God can reach people through any means he chooses—not just through family members, friends, and neighbors. Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus with neither a soul nor an evangelist in sight.

But, the beauty about all this is that even though God doesn’t need us, he chooses to use us as a means through which to reveal himself to people. We are conduits of his love and grace in a broken and hurting world with the unique honor and privilege of entering into the work that he’s doing in the lives of those close to us.

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Source: Christianity Today