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Sharing Hope in 2024

This year offers new opportunities to share the hope of Christ with friends and family. Three Assemblies of God evangelists share helps for witnessing to others this year.
The 2023 holiday season is over and the world has embarked on a new year full of new opportunities. This year, consider making an effort, more than ever, to share Christ with friends and family members, especially during the year’s holidays.

“There is always a good time for sharing your faith,” says Maria Donnelly, evangelist with the Assemblies of God and staff member at Five Rivers Church.

However, Donnelly says that the time of year particularly dictates how to best share Christ.

“Holidays are a perfect time to share the gospel and reach out to your community in the name of Jesus,” she says.

One special thing about holiday seasons is a window for sharing the gospel. From times of annual family gatherings to church programs and pageants that draw those who would not normally darken the doors of a church, Alicia Black, an evangelist with the Assemblies of God, states that these unique, annual opportunities are ones that should be seized.

Yet even before seasonal celebrations begin, the backdrop to successfully walking into opportunities that God provides must be prayer, says Scott Hinkle, Assemblies of God evangelist and co-minister of Scott Hinkle Outreach Ministries along with wife, Nancy.

“Prayer paves the way to sharing our faith,” he says, “especially to our lost family and friends.”

Yet when it comes to practical ways to witness, Hinkle says that the most effective tool is the change that takes place in actions, attitudes, and behaviors. While he states that words are imperative and important at some point, families seeing the continued changing work of God taking place draws the lost into a curiosity about the transformative power of Jesus Christ.

Other relational pathways to evangelizing friends and family during the holidays can include inviting them to a holiday party or celebratory outing with other believers.

“People tend to respond to the gospel by seeing it lived in front of them rather than just someone preaching to them,” says Black. “Finding ways to build close relationships with nonbelievers and exposing them to people who have a relationship with Jesus is the best way to plant seeds.”

Witnessing to friends and family during the holidays is most effectively done with a balance between being honest and compelling yet not pushy or overbearing. Black says that a great way to maintain this balance is to do more listening than talking.

“People want to be heard,” she says, “and when you have a relationship with Jesus and you see people struggling in their sin, it can be easy to lay out all the ways you think their problem can be fixed.”

She states that it is important to remember that sometimes people aren’t ready to change. However, listening to the Holy Spirit will lead you to windows of time when what you have to say will be well received.

According to Donnelly, it is important to respect personal preferences for hearing the faith message, especially amidst the often-eclectic group of individuals gathered during holidays.

She goes on to say that more than pushing people into conversion, the better approach is to share a sincere desire for loved ones to experience the peace and joy of knowing Jesus.

Another way to effectively witness during holidays is to keep talk focused on Jesus based on personal experiences, the goodness and faithfulness that has been personally experienced, rather than speaking broadly, according to Black.

“Sharing your struggles and letting other see that faith isn’t an accessory we put on and take off can be so impactful,” says Hinkle. “Showing ourselves as salt and light in an open and authentic way demonstrates the real and relatable, thus compelling, nature of Christ.”

Making the most of time with friends and family by sharing the love that Jesus offers is what believers are called to do. Because it is impossible to know how many more opportunities there may be to share the gospel, it is critical to bear witness to His sacrifice on the cross during such gathering, says Black.

Black states that reflecting on John 16:8-11 can be beneficial for those who want to share Christ with a loved one during holidays or other family gatherings.

“It’s important for us to remember that we can’t do the job of the Holy Spirit. It’s His job to convict, it’s our job to plant the seed.”

For those struggling with hurt, grief, loneliness, or regret, the enemy desires to drag them further into these negative emotions to create feelings of isolation, despite being surrounded by family, says Black.

Hinkle advises always keeping two things engaged when at family gatherings: a listening ear and a compassionate heart.

“We always want to bring hope and show that hope to others,” he says. “Our loved ones need to have hope before they can believe.”

Ashley B. Grant

Ashley B. Grant has a master's degree in Human Services Marriage and Family Counseling from Liberty University and is a credentialed Christian counselor through the American Association of Christian Counselors. Grant also holds certifications in crisis pregnancy counseling and advanced life coaching. Ashley is a fourth generation Assemblies of God preacher’s kid and has one daughter and three sons.