by Nancy Grisham
Since we never discussed faith, I wondered if my parents had a relationship with Jesus or if they were just good churchgoers. I had fully trusted in Jesus and hoped they were real Christ-followers, too. But, I didn’t talk with them about it.
Maybe like me you have a tough time talking with your family about Christ. Your hurdles might be fear of rejection, their anger, mocking, rebellion, intellectualism, skepticism, questions, religion, or anything that tries to block you from talking with them about Jesus.
No matter what the obstacle, God is always greater.
Let’s face it, the closer the relationship, often the tougher it is to talk about Christ.
Concern for my parents led to having nightmares about my dad dying. In the dreams, I would be standing beside his casket, heartbroken, because I didn’t know where he was spending eternity. Then, I’d wake up terrified.
Finally, I told a friend about the dreams and asked her to pray for my mom and dad. She casually said, “Why don’t you just talk to your parents?”
Talk to them? That thought scared me almost as much as the dreams!
Get It Out On the Table
One day, while visiting my parents, I got the courage to say, “There’s something that we never talked about when I was growing up and that’s spiritual things. I’m wondering, could we get that out on the table and talk about it?”
My parents said, “Sure we can!”
Who were these people and what had they done with my mom and dad?
That day, my mother told me that she had trusted Jesus as the only way to God. However, it would be years before my dad told me that he had put his trust in Christ. Two weeks later, he died. When I stood beside his casket, it felt nothing like those nightmares. Even in grief, I had great comfort and joy. I knew my dad would be in heaven for eternity—and that changed everything!
No matter what the challenges are in reaching your family, keep loving and reaching out—especially over the long haul. Here are a few things I’ve learned that I hope are helpful to you.
- Love well in the process. Your family needs to see Christ in you if they’re going to listen about Christ from you. Look for practical ways to reach out and love them. Live, show, and give relationship.
- Recognize your family dynamics, but don’t be controlled by them. Don’t be ruled by unhealthy norms. Be kind. Choose to be led by the Holy Spirit, one step at a time. He will help you.
- Face up to and deal with hurts, done to you and by you. Wherever it’s needed, give and ask for forgiveness. Be at peace as far as it concerns you.
- You don’t have to agree with your family to love and honor them. We are all created in God’s image. Honor His work and love your family.
- Anchor your prayers in scripture. Pray what God’s word says about your family knowing Christ. For example: Lord, You desire that none perish—that includes my family! Please send harvest workers into their lives. Thank You that Your kindness leads them to repentance. Thank You for loving my family so much that Jesus died for them. Open their hearts to understand and receive Your love relationship…. Take God’s word to Him in prayer!
- Know four trigger words. When someone seems open, be ready to talk about Jesus’ story. Four words will help you stay ready to share the core relationship message. The four trigger words are: God, Us, Christ, You. Couple them with the points below and you can effectively start a conversation about Jesus’ story: God – “God loves us.” Us – “We blew it.” Christ – “Christ paid for it.” You – “You (and I) must receive Him.” 
If someone is open, have a conversation about these points. If he or she seems to understand, ask, “Would you like to put your trust in Christ? If he or she says yes, prompt him or her in prayer to: Ask forgiveness, receive, and trust in Jesus—then give thanks!
If someone is not ready, always leave the door open for more conversation. Only God can give understanding.
Keep Your Confidence in God
Sometimes, we walk a long road together before our loved ones come to faith in Christ. Along the way, love well and also talk about Jesus. Only God knows how to apprehend hearts—trust Him with the results.
 Bill Hybels, Mark Mittelberg, and Lee Strobel. Becoming a Contagious Christian. Grand Rapids: Zonderan, 2007.
Nancy Grisham (@nancygrisham) is a speaker and founder of Livin’ Ignited. She is author of Thriving: Trusting God for Life to the Fullest, has frequently taught at Willow Creek Community Church mid-week classes and served as the evangelism pastor in a church of 6,500 people led by Stuart Briscoe.