We often wonder how to reach family, friends, and colleagues who are not Christians. However, the answer lies in how well we do apologetics. Apologetics is, in basic terms, a defense of our faith. Through apologetics, we can let people know what Christianity is all about.
People are attracted to Christianity through what they see about the faith. Sometimes, it is in our lifestyles. Do we practice what we “preach”? Do our lives show consistency with the Word of God? People are attracted to our lives when we live godly lives—lives that they can see honor God, even though they may not know what that looks like specifically. It’s like how sometimes people would say, “There is something about her” or “There is something about him.” They cannot pinpoint what it is, but they know there is something special about you.
So, how can we evangelize to such people and some with whom we interact regularly? How can we do so without offending them? How do we evangelize without ruining the opportunity to win them over to Jesus Christ?
Tell Your Story.
Many people may think that the way to draw the attention of those we want to win over to Christ is through debate and arguments. However, according to apologetics scholars such as Myron Bradley Penner, this technique has yet to prove effective. As Penner highlights in his book, The End of Apologetics: Christian Witness in a Postmodern Context, we should do apologetics in the postmodern world differently. Instead of debate, we need to win people through love, God’s revelation, and edification. According to Penner, “Edification is of fundamental importance to the Christian concept of witness.” Christian witness can be effective through conversation.
Moreover, Penner believes that apologetics should focus on what an individual believes and how he believes. He says, “Actual Christianity means being Christian in specific ways: trusting, praying, believing, loving, witnessing.” Also, apologetics is not just for the “experts” or “geniuses” who are “brilliant enough” to come up with clever arguments and strategies to prove the epistemic superiority of Christian belief. Every Christian can witness to others about Christ.
Telling people stories about how God has come through for you or for people you know can speak powerfully to them. Apologetics is more than reasoned arguments; it is also narratives. Apologetics and outreach through storytelling is effortless. We love to tell stories about ourselves and God. Storytelling often happens through conversation. You can be intentional about outreach on a small scale by setting time aside to have coffee, breakfast, lunch, or dinner with someone you know needs God and needs to hear about His goodness.
When we walk in love, edifying others through our actions and words, and converse with others rather than debate with them about Christ and the Christian faith, we are more likely to give them a greater understanding of God and Christianity. We will also likely reach them for Christ. What we must remember is that our actions must be consistent with what we say we believe. When we do this, our faith becomes more authentic to others. When our faith and lives are more faithful in people’s sight, unbelievers are more likely to be attracted to our faith and want to be influenced by our God. The most potent way we can evangelize is through how we live: our words and actions.
Witnessing to people through conversation, edification, and our lifestyles work in the postmodern world rather than debates. Many people prefer that we do not confront them, but we show that we understand them, have been where they are, and want the best for them. When people see that we genuinely have their interests at heart, they will be open to the compelling gospel that they see and hear through our lives. Forever changed!
Akosua Frempong is a freelance writer with the Evangelical Press Association, an adjunct journalism professor at Regent University, Virginia, and founder of Listening Ear Communications.