Matt DeCola’s stomach was churning. As a pastor, he was used to leading small group Bible studies. But tonight would be different. His sister Rachel sat in the living room looking at him.
What will she think? How will she respond? Is this is a good idea? The questions turned over in Matt’s mind.
Matt, age 29 and a relatively new pastor, was growing accustomed to speaking to hundreds of people. Though he’d get nervous about telling the story of his faith journey, that proved nothing compared to reaching out to his own family with the gospel message of Jesus’ love and forgiveness.
“I can talk to a 1,000 people about the gospel and my story,” Matt says. “But to talk to my brother and sister, it’s a little different. I risk suffering when I share the gospel with my family because there is a risk that it could affect our relationship.”
Though his family has seen his life change, one of the most difficult challenges for Matt has been to live out his faith in front of his family consistently.
Many of us can relate: We desperately want our loved ones to experience the love and forgiveness that Jesus offers. Yet we don’t want to risk damaging a relationship that means so much and, worse still, unwittingly push our family members further from this good news.
“I have a responsibility to step out in faith — we water and plant, but it’s God who brings the growth,” says Matt. “That’s such a good illustration when trusting God with our family.”
Since attending the Bible study in Matt’s home, Rachel has put her trust in Christ for the forgiveness of her sins and publicly identified herself as a follower of Christ through baptism. So has Jake.
For a more in-depth treatment of this subject, check out Randy Newman’s podcast on “Bringing the Gospel Home.”
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