The Apostle Paul writes to Timothy: “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Tim. 4:2).
As I write this, it is the end of August. The temperature here in southwest Kansas is around 80 degrees, mild for this time of the year. We are currently experiencing a shift in the seasons, which in this part of the United States can vary on any given day. Not many people are thinking of the holiday season, but now is the time to prepare for some of the most intentional times for ministry on the calendar.
The holiday season brings with it a potential for the unchurched to have opportunities to hear the gospel as they attend special Thanksgiving meals sponsored by a local church, children’s Christmas programs, fall festivals and other such events. It’s a time when the church needs to be on its toes—being intentional about demonstrating the love of Christ and even more importantly, verbally sharing the gospel.
Hopefully the unique opportunities for the church to share the gospel during the holiday season are obvious to a church’s leaders as well as the congregation. What may not be quite as obvious are the amazing opportunities we have for sharing the gospel outside of the four walls of the church.
Think about it. At what other time of year are there many guests in your home or do you find yourself in places where people are gathered? Holiday get-togethers provide an audience that often isn’t gathered at other times of the year. People’s minds are primed for reflection on themes and concepts that open the door for gospel conversations.
For example, at Thanksgiving people’s minds are attuned to what they are thankful for. Oftentimes conversations, or even special times around the table, provide opportunities for the believer to be able to share that they are thankful for salvation.
At Christmas, the concept of gifts is ever present. As the theme of gifts is part of many conversations and even central at some Christmas gatherings, doors are open for the believer to share about the great gift of salvation.
Another opportunity to share the gospel, although perhaps only partially, arises from the opportunities of the prayer before a meal. Most guests or family members are open to a prayer at these meals. What better opportunity at the Thanksgiving meal to give thanks to God for salvation or at the Christmas meal for thanking God for sending Jesus as a baby who would later sacrificially give his life on the cross for our sins.
Christmas gatherings may also be a time during which family and friends are more open to listening to the Christmas story as it is read from the Bible.
Pray for opportunities to verbally share the gospel. Here are some ways you can share your faith during the holidays:
- Be intentional about mentioning Jesus in conversations, prayers and during special opportunities to address guests.
- Play Christian music in the background at gatherings.
- Seek opportunities at Thanksgiving to share of your thankfulness for salvation.
- Be intentional at Christmas to share how your life has been impacted by the gift of salvation.
- Behave in ways that represent Christ and his church in a positive way.
Matthew Hamilton is pastor at Valleyview Bible Church in Cimarron, Kan. He and his wife, Michelle, have served the Cimarron congregation since 2015.