The next time you have guests, make the visit a faith-sharing
The hearth fires are still glowing and Christmas carols ring in our ears as
the holiday season winds down for another year. Reflecting on our family's two
traditional Christmas outreaches, my husband, Mike, and I hope they will usher
in eternal changes during the New Year.
Our children, Brandon, 5, Brianna, 4, and Justin, 18 months, have just
hosted their (second) annual "Happy Birthday, Jesus" party for neighborhood
children. Everything from "Pin the Tail on Mary's Donkey" to a felt storyboard
sharing the Christmas message gives our family an opportunity to share with
these precious (and energetic!) children and their families the true meaning of
We also have hosted our eighth annual "It's A Wonderful Life" party
featuring Frank Capra's classic film starring Jimmy Stewart. After
pre-screening hors d'oeuvres, it's time for the movie trivia contest. Mike
introduces the game, then he briefly shares that what makes our lives wonderful
is the personal relationship we have with Jesus Christ.
"If you would like to talk more about knowing God personally," Mike
explains, "just mark an 'X' at the bottom of your trivia quiz before returning
it." Most of the time, that simple, 60-second mention leads to at least one
conversation with a non-believer during the party.
We find it's more intentionally evangelistic if we include both Christians
and non-Christians. Prior to the party, we ask our Christian friends to look
for opportunities to bring up spiritual issues during the course of the
Many families love the holiday season and all the creative, evangelistic
opportunities that naturally occur during this festive and religious time of
year. But don't pack up your on mission focus when the Christmas
decorations get packed away. No matter the size of a person's home or family
structure, God desires for us all to be on mission-minded throughout
One of our first New Year's activities is to gather a group of Christian
friends to pray for our neighborhood and non-Christian friends. For a
successful outreach, prayer must be the foundation. There are many creative
ways to integrate prayer into your party planning. For the "It's A Wonderful
Life" party, a prayer commitment can be a part of the RSVP for Christian
friends. As you address invitations, take the time to pray for each guest you
Another wonderful time for prayer —especially if you have children—is to
focus on party guests while preparing food. Whether you pray while driving to
the grocery store or as you bake the treats, pray for each guest individually
and specifically ask for God's blessing on each aspect of your outreach.
Brandon and Brianna help prepare the goodie bags for their Christmas party.
As we stuff each bag, we specifically pray for the child who will take it home.
Once the prayer base is covered, determine whom to invite and what kind of
outreach might best connect with them spiritually. This can be an eye-opening
time as you realize your list consists mainly of friends who already have a
relationship with God! Ask God to expand your sphere of influence to include
many who have yet to meet the Savior.
When I was a single woman living in the Philadelphia area, Mug-'n'-Muffin
parties were an effective way to reach other women. Friends brought muffins to
share and their favorite mug. After a time of catching up on news, we discussed
topics such as "Finding the love of your life" or "From frazzled to freedom." A
three-minute testimony could be included to complete the gospel message.
Today we live in a subdivision with quite a few stay-at-home moms. When a
friend of mine who sells cosmetics came to visit, we decided to have a makeup
party with a spiritual twist for the ladies in the neighborhood. We called it
Outer Beauty/Inner Beauty. Two home-schooled teens watched the little ones
while the moms (and grandmas!) enjoyed being pampered.
As we waited for our facial masks to dry, I briefly shared about "Beginning
Your Journey of Joy," a "Four Spiritual Laws"-based booklet geared toward
women. Since many of my neighbors have some religious background, I mentioned
that I thought it might be of interest to them and included it in their makeup
gift bag. The ladies who attended not only had a great time socializing and
being pampered, but left with the gospel message and the knowledge that our
family is committed to Christ. We laid more than one kind of foundation that
Makeup is the last thing on a man's mind, but the guys might be ready for
some pizza or chili while watching the Super Bowl. During halftime, you could
share an action-packed evangelistic football video, Spirit of the Game.
Casually let the guys know that faith plays a part in your life as well and
that you're around if they ever want to talk.
A neighborhood Bible study is also a great way to introduce friends to
Jesus. We're part of one right now that includes Christians and non-Christians.
Each month a different couple hosts the group. Some friends of ours opened
their home after advertising in the neighborhood newsletter. They use a Bible
study series called TouchPOINTS.
The material is geared toward people who don't know Christ or have questions
about their relationship with God. Study topics include "Is the Bible really
true?," "Happiness is..." and "Choosing what is right in the workplace."
Neighbors who may never set foot in a church have come to their home and now
have a chance to consider spiritual issues in a non-threatening setting. At our
friends' home, a young neighbor accepted Christ after the very first
Being available and truly hospitable just naturally draws others to your
home and family. When we were newlyweds, the common link we shared with
neighbors in our apartment complex near Washington, D.C., was cockroaches.
During the work day we helped plan large fundraisers for a Christian
ministry and attended extravagant gatherings at the National Press Building
where Mike worked. It was hard to imagine how God could use our small,
roach-infested apartment after work hours to draw others to Him. But after
readjusting our focus, we realized God had placed a group of latchkey children
all around us—children we met while the apartment was being fumigated!
Mike's outreaches took place while working on cars with the guys. One boy,
Brian, especially enjoyed just talking with Mike since his father was no longer
around. His sister, Andrea, and a handful of other 7- to 8-year-old girls
dropped by often to bake or just hang out until moms or aunts came home later
that night. We had so many times to share God's love with them. Brian and
Andrea brought their mom and grandma for dinner one night. We had a chance to
talk about Jesus right in the middle of our kitchen (and the cockroaches stayed
Your evangelistic outreach might just be "availability" and the offering of
a warm home to kids who leave school to come home to an empty house. Encourage
your children to look at friends' needs through God's eyes.
As our children grow, "Happy Birthday, Jesus" parties may not be most
effective. Instead, imagine having a group of giggling, 11- and 12-year-old
girls over for your daughter's evangelistic Valentine outreach.
Possibly an older teen from the youth group could present an evangelistic
talk based on "True Love Waits" and Josh McDowell's "Why Wait?" material
followed by a sleep-over.
With basket/makeup/kitchenware/memory book parties so popular now, you could
have one while also including an evangelistic message. Invite friends over for
a basket party and offer a talk entitled "Are you a basket or a basket case? A
biblical perspective on reducing stress." A kitchen party might include a topic
such as "The recipe for happiness."
God has blessed you with a home that can be used to introduce people to our
Savior. Take time to listen to God's leading, ask for His creativity and
guidance. The possibilities and eternal impact are endless when we're ready to
be on mission!
Linda Ebert is a homemaker, mother of three and freelance writer. She
has been on staff with the National Day of Prayer Task Force, Focus on the
Family and Campus Crusade for Christ.
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