I served God's people as pastor for almost 30 years. During that time, I saw
many people pave the way for their families to come to Christ.
Elaine came from a non-Christian home. She became a Christian and was deeply
burdened for her family. Excitedly she shared Christ with her brother, who
listened intently. The next morning he said, "You won't believe what happened
to me last night! I got saved." They began to pray for their family. When
Elaine and her brother were baptized, their parents did not attend. They teased
and called it "being dunked." The prayers and encouragement by the church
during these times of rejection were priceless.
Within two years Elaine's sister and older brother turned to Christ. All
four children and the church prayed for the parents. One time, while Elaine
helped her mother recuperate from surgery, her dad said, "Lainey, I've been
watching you and Kerry (Elaine's husband).
I know there is a God, because I see Him in your lives. How can I know Him?"
Shortly after that, Elaine's dad gave his life to Christ, and later her mom
testified of having come to know Jesus.
God had completely changed those children. They were no longer the same. The
rest of the family noticed the change but did not understand it. Their presence
in the family showed, for the first time, a difference in lifestyle that made
the family uncomfortable.
Like Elaine, most of the people God brought to our church family were not
believers. When they were saved, they immediately wanted to share with their
families. Often they experienced a measure of rejection, which was very painful
We, as a church body, began to orient them to:
what had happened when God saved them.
what God had begun within their families.
how the church could assist them in reaching their families.
how they could be the "salt and light" to their families so God could also
bring each family member to salvation.
They needed to know that God had completely changed them. They would no
longer be the same. Others in the family would notice the change.
The change in many people would say, "What I was before was not pleasing to
God. God has changed me to become His child, and I no longer live the way I
used to live."
The response from their family would almost always be, "You mean all we have
been doing, and all that your grandparents did was wrong?"
We helped them to answer in love, patience, kindness and understanding. We
encouraged them to love so transparently and authentically that family members
would be attracted to Christ and want what they had experienced for themselves.
Many of the families began responding to this loving, strong family
We also encouraged and equipped the new believers to witness to their
unsaved family members by:
being sensitive to their feelings-remembering they are lost.
sharing naturally and spontaneously.
watching for and being confident in God's activity in the life of each
involving the church in praying for each family member until each is
gently inviting family members to opportunities to be with the church
In your own family, God may have begun with you. He intends to continue to
reach into your family until every member is a child of His, too. Let your
church family assist you in this wonderful process.
The author of Experiencing God, Henry Blackaby is special
assistant to the president, for Prayer and Spiritual Awakening, North American
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC