In an article for Christianity Today, Ed Stetzer quotes two statistics for American Christians:
When asked the question: “If someone you know invited you to attend church with them at Christmas, how likely would you be to attend?” Over half (57%) of respondents said they’d be likely to come. [Lifeway Research]
As it turns out, nearly 80% say that if a friend values his or her faith in Jesus, they are willing to talk to the friend about it even if they themselves are not believers. [Lifeway Research with Billy Graham Center]
Wherever you live, we can take heart from how the Bible validates the principle behind these ideas. I think of Philippians 2:14-16,
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
The quality of our lives is meant to be distinctive - and when it is, we shine as lights, holding fast to the word of life - the gospel!
I believe this echoes the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:14-16):
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Questions for reflection and discussion:
- How can you humbly but clearly demonstrate a distinctive lifestyle to your neighbors today?
- When would be a good time to invite a friend to church? Who will you invite?
- What question could you ask to start a conversation about faith? Who will you talk with?