We live in a time of unprecedented apologetics resources. With a few clicks on a smart phone, you can have the information that would have taken hours in a library just a decade ago. Schools and even some churches are providing apologetics training. There is so much information that is available.
But it takes much more than knowledge about apologetics and other related subjects to be an effective apologist. If you are serious about your role as an apologist and if you want your apologetics ministry to make an impact, I would encourage you to take the following steps.
- See your activity as being about the person and not the argument. There is an emotional high when you are able to defeat a person in an argument. But are you talking to the person to crush their argument or to point them to Jesus? Open your eyes to see the person behind the skeptic.
- Take time to listen to the other person. It is tempting to create a straw man that is just begging to be torn down. Before putting your arguments forward, take time to listen to the other person. You may have read a dozen books on Mormonism, but they may not represent the beliefs of the specific Mormon you are speaking to. When the person is talking, listen to their words rather than rehearsing your next attack.
- Be humble in all you do and say. Do not give in to the temptation of being looked at as the expert. If you do not know the answer to a question, admit it instead of trying to bluff your way through. As long as your are willing to let them research your questions, they should let you do the same thing. If you get caught making a mistake in one of your claims, admit it immediately instead of hiding it.
- Rely on God. Cover everything in prayer. Be praying for the person that you are speaking to. Pray that God would use your words and that God would bring others into their life as well. You may not see the change you want personally, but God could use you to bring the person to faith years down the road. Pray for yourself as well. Pray that you would have the right words, but also pray for your own walk with God.
Definitely work toward greater knowledge in apologetics. Read the books, listen to the podcasts and attend the conferences. But consider these four steps as key to bringing your apologetics ministry to the next level.
If you are interested in growing as an apologist, you may be interested in my eBook, The Apologetics Challenge. You can get it for free by signing up for my monthly newsletter.