Why is it that the hardest people to share the Gospel with are usually our own family members? We have a burden for them, we love them, and we can even be trained to share our faith with them. So what's the problem? Does Satan know where we live or what? I suspect it is the fear of rejection. But we must understand that rejection is nothing compared to the reality of hell. It all boils down to that simple fact.
Now be encouraged as you read the testimony of Tammy Gaede from North Greenwood Baptist Church in Greenwood, Mississippi, where Jim Phillips is pastor.
I flew down to Florida for my grandfather's 102nd birthday with a mission in mind: to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with him. While my parents were waiting for others to arrive, my grandfather was sitting outside enjoying God's glorious creation, so I went outside to join him. I knew this had to be the day.
We started talking, and I asked about what he thought were some of the most important things he remembered from his 102 years of life on this earth. He said, "When I was hunting at five or six years of age, my Father said, 'When I tell you to drop, you drop down to the ground and don't move, because I will be shooting a duck.'"
We laughed about it, and then I started telling him about some of the wonderful things I had learned since moving to Greenwood, Mississippi — particularly about Jesus and the things I had learned in Bible Study and by reading the Bible.
Then I asked him, "What do you think it takes to get to Heaven?" He responded, "By being a good person and doing what you are supposed to do." I then asked him, "Can I share with you how the Bible answers that question?" His reply was yes. So I told him that it is only through Jesus that a person is saved, not through a priest or anyone else. Then I went through the FAITH outline and asked him if he would like to receive Jesus' gift of salvation. He answered, "Yes." I then led him in prayer, and he received Jesus in his heart.
What a blessing it was to share such a special moment with my grandfather that day in Bradenton, Florida, on the afternoon of December 22, 2007.
Did it matter that statistics show a very low number of senior adults accept Christ? Did it matter that he was my grandfather and that I might be intimidated to share with him? Absolutely not!
It did matter that I had been trained in how to share my faith and how to be loving, not pushy, in doing it. I was prepared, and the Holy Spirit was going to help me. I could not fail, even if I missed a point or two. My great Lord would use me because He knew my heart and how I longed to see my grandfather go to heaven. Was my heart beating fast? Absolutely! I grew more and more excited as he listened and as I drew closer to the final question of his understanding and desire to know Christ.
I am blessed to be in a church that is concerned that I know how to share the Gospel, and all I can say is, "Thank you! Thank you!"
When I got saved, my mother said, "You'll get over it." And before that she told me I'd better not go down there to that church house with those money-grabbing hypocrites! So I knew what she thought, and sharing with her wasn't going to be a "warm and fuzzy" experience. But I also knew I had to try. It took a bit of sharing and time, but she and my brother were the first people I baptized when I became a preacher.
Remember: we never know when we will get a second chance to share with a family member. So get a prayer partner, jump out of the boat, and go for it!
Bobby H. Welch is Strategist for Global Evangelical Relations with the SBC Executive Committee, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, and originator of the FAITH evangelism strategy.