Dare to Share Youth Ministries has posted an article about How to Share Your Faith Using Thanksgiving (link broken).
It has a few good spiritual discussion questions that can be used during Thanksgiving celebrations.
Thanksgiving weekend in America typically involves large family gatherings, more food than one could eat, and for some families, hours of meaningless discussions about football, weather, and rehashing old family stories.
1. Pray for your conversations.
Consider praying ahead of time, asking God to make you sensitive to His leading about when and what to share.
Ask the Lord to make a person’s spiritual thirst clear to you.
Approach the Thanksgiving holiday with the idea that you’ll have opportunity to share with family and friends what you are truly thankful for: the outrageous grace offered to you in Christ Jesus.
When you pray, you’ll be ready to notice when God underlines a moment for you.
Here are some thoughts from the article:
So use the Thanksgiving clamor and commotion to point your conversations with friends or family toward God.
Try turning their attention from the turkey and football to the real cause for celebration and feasting – the love, grace and forgiveness found in a restored relationship with God through his son Jesus.
Here are some ideas to get the conversation headed toward God-talk:
- Do you have any family traditions at Thanksgiving time?
- Is Thanksgiving a time of fun or stress in your family?
- If you could ‘do Thanksgiving’ in a fresh, new, totally different way, what would that look like for you? Would it include a God-focus? Why or why not?
- What’s the one thing you are most thankful for this year?
- Ask your friends if they see Thanksgiving as more of a time for being thankful to God or being thankful to others? Share your perspective. Tell your friends about the difference God has made in your life through accepting Jesus’ gift of salvation and how that has made you thankful.
- Find out if there’s something in your friend’s life that makes it tough to feel thankful this Thanksgiving. Listen and share from your own life if you’ve had challenges this past year as well. Share how you try to come to God with a thankful heart, regardless of your earthly circumstances, because of his free gift of forgiveness through Jesus and your restored relationship with God.
I’m having a Thanksgiving open house here in Singapore tomorrow. Was searching the web for ideas to share my faith and love for the history behind Thanksgiving when they come by to share in my food.
I found your site and though I’m glad it’s here, I still think “hmmmm,” I wish you’d re-word your first paragraph about conversation “meaningless… rehashing of family stories?” I know what you mean, and have felt that way before, but we still need to ENGAGE and be interested in what’s important to our family if we ever want them to have the slightest interest in this Gospel that’s important to us. The stories we share are what brings us together when not all of us follow Jesus – even if there are only a few ties that bind, it’s the stories we share, and remember together that keep us talking.
Also, you have advised for when we talk to friends: “Listen and share from your own life if you’ve had challenges this past year as well.” I understand, especially with coaches, that to share details of your personal experiences/struggles after someone has shared theirs doesn’t really help, and may in fact hinder. To say, simply, “I’ve NOT experienced what you’ve gone thru, but I have known something similar. I know it is hard.” is better, because it keeps the focus on them and doesn’t turn it to you. If they seem ready to change the focus, I might say, “There were some things that gave me strength in the midst of it, that I’d be willing to talk about, if you are interested.” and WAIT. LOOK. Listen and watch for non-verbals to see if they are REALLY willing to hear. If not, stay silent. Pray for the Holy Spirit to minister to them and soften their heart to his love and truth. In times when I have stayed SILENT, much later down the road I might hear from this person that he/she heard me say something about the Gospel anyway!
Thanks for dropping by. I updated this post here
Thanksgiving 2009 to expand a few thoughts and reword the article.
You make some great points.