Family members are one of the toughest people to evangelize to. It is so hard that a proverb was coined and even Jesus quoted it; ‘a prophet is not without honor except in his hometown’.
The challenge with evangelizing to family members is that they are used to you. They barely take you seriously.
Also, with family members, if they refuse to convert, you have to put up with an awkward relationship for a long time.
It is easy for families to be divided based on their faith. With so much at stake when evangelizing to family members, it calls for much care.
In most cases, it is advised to do evangelism away from home and only at home if you have experience. Nevertheless, if you want your family to know Christ at any cost, no one restricts you. God will reward you for your effort.
How to Evangelize to Family Members
1. Expect to be despised
It is almost a guarantee that you will be despised when you go to evangelize to your family members. In some families, you may be despised silently but in others it may be open ridicule.
Jesus was despised in His hometown. At home, people knew Him as the son of Mary and Joseph. None of them wanted to put up with His claims of being the Son of God.
Since your family members know your history, they are likely to see you from the history perspective rather than the new light that you bring.
For people who have been committed to their faith from their past, family members may have already built a wall to prevent any influence.
In such cases, family members may not protest but they silently wait for you to be done with your evangelism so that they can continue with their business.
The position you hold in the family matters a lot. A parent has authority to get children to listen but children have little chance of getting parents to listen.
If you have brothers and sisters, they are likely to argue or push you away.
Despite evangelizing to family members being tough, God has provided mechanisms to draw family members to Jesus.
While family members can refuse to listen to you, they have no power to stop you from praying for them. Prayer is the weapon that no family member can defend himself against.
Prayer as a strategy of evangelizing to family members works so well because of the love people have for their family members. A fervent prayer made for a family member will win then to Christ.
God responds to prayers made from a compassionate heart. If you have true compassion for your family members and you ask God to save their souls, He will honor your request.
Though family members may despise your faith, they can’t deny the fruit of your faith. God designed faith in such a way that when it produces fruit, everyone sees.
You can win your family members to Christ by how you conduct yourself. Simply by living in the truth of the word of God, you will be transformed into an attractive person that even your family members will be drawn to your God.
This strategy of evangelizing to family members takes time but it is effective.
2. Know when to Stop
Evangelizing to family members is a good thing but when it is about to make you lose your own salvation, it is wise to stop.
The Bible talks of a time to search and a time to give up. Time comes when the wisest decision is to give up.
Before you embark on evangelizing to your family members, set limits. Though it may sound ungodly, it is a wise thing to do. Jesus Himself set limits to how far He could go.
Jesus restricted Himself to Jewish territory. There are instances where He helped gentiles but we are clearly told it was an exception.
Jesus planned to do His mission in Jewish territory and have His disciples carry the message to gentiles after He returned to the Father.
When you want to evangelize to your family members, you can plan to speak to them for a period and if they don’t show any signs of change by then, you can resort to praying for them alone.
You can as well decide to ask a third party to come and evangelize to them when you have hit your limit. Without setting limits, you can easily lose your salvation in the process of winning your family members to Christ.
Set your limit based on the resources you have; time, money, friends etc.
3. Family Members may Never Convert
This is the worst case scenario but it happens. We cannot overlook it. You may pray and fast, ask friends to evangelize to your family members and do everything in your ability to win your family members to Christ but they completely refuse.
It is in such moments that you have to remember that salvation is a personal choice. As painful as it may be to watch your family members perish, you have to endure it.
Jesus endures watching many people He died for reject His offer. This is painful reality that we don’t have full control over.
In such moments, console yourself in the fact that you put in effort. Even though you may feel there is something you could have done better, you have to know that your family members had a responsibility too.
Your work was to get the offer of salvation to them. It was their responsibility to receive it.
Instead of crying over the refusal of your family members to convert to Christ, you can give the offer to others who are more receptive.
God will reward you for any souls you lead to Him whether they are your family members or strangers. Remember the parable Jesus told of a master who prepared a banquet and invited His friends but they didn’t show up.
The master got angry and invited the poor, the lame and the homeless. When there was still space, he asked his servants to go to the countryside and get anyone they could until the space was full.
It is unfortunate that this happens sometimes but when it happens, we have to accept it.
These are the three things you need to have at the back of your mind when you set out to evangelize to your family members.
At the end of the day, it is the love that you have for your family members that will determine how far you go in trying to win them to Christ.
Remember that all effort you put in to get your family members to accept Christ will be rewarded.
All the best!