According to 1 Peter 3:15, we should be ready to give every man an answer that will ask you the reason of the hope that you have. What is it you can answer? I believe that anyone can answer intelligently as to why they believe, what they believe. Here are some things to do and not to do.
This is not an exhaustive article that will make the reader a subject matter expert but it will give you something to remember and instruct you on what not to do when you give someone an answer.
What Not To Do
* Do not begin your answer with, "my pastor teaches us".
You might as well shoot yourself in the foot (please don't!). The first impression that you will give is, you can't think and answer a question for yourself. Many people who will ask of you, may not know your Pastor from Bobby Periwinkle (I don't know who this is either) but nearly everybody has heard of God, Jesus Christ and The Bible.
I have learned that church folk that will say..."my pastor says" Or "my pastor teaches" these people more than likely spend little time in studying Gods word and need to depend on their memory in recalling what their pastor said. Remembering a few out of context bible verses, sound bites of sermons and a few lines from your favorite hymnal book or gospel song is not good at all.
* Don't Invite Them To Church!
Understand me carefully. Why do they need to wait until Sunday to hear a Gospel message? Why can you not present it there with them. Don't take the easy road because you have not spent 10 minutes reading or studying. Church folk have been programmed over the years to "each one, invite one" That's not spreading the Gospel. It's easy to say; "Come to my church" Or "Your Invited to my church". Why should they come to your church?
You are merely filling pews and there are enough spiritually dead folk in the pews. Its been my experience that when you present it and you meet the immediate needs of the person by being kind to then and not condescending, they will ask you..."Where Do You Worship?" Try inviting them to Christ first and they will want to fellowship with you because of the kindness you've shown.
Modern day invites seem to serve the purpose of building numbers which equates to bigger offerings or simple gather the people in the building so they can hear the message.
* Do not get into a debate that has nothing to do with the question. If the question has to do with John 3:16, don't quote Psalms or Proverbs. Explain John 3:16, If in your explanation you have to refer to another passage, make sure its relevant to answering the question.
* Don't preach to them (or at them). This is the big mistake that church folk make. They will turn away many of people by preaching at them. Talk to them, make sure they understand and listen! Remember this, you lead sheep, but you drive cattle (not calling anybody cattle). Stop trying to drive people to your Church, simple lead them to Christ.
* Don't speak in your church vernacular, church slang and please don't speak in tongues! (Tongues has its place and C.O.G.I.C folk don't seem to know where it is) You need to show that you are in your right mind, human and not some automaton programmed by The Church. Be real! Not Real Fake or Real Deep And Spiritual. Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free. (Galatians 5:1)
* Don't tell them, "Come to my Church and hear my Pastor". That sounds so shallow, people hungry for Gods Word, want to hear His Word, not your Pastor, not some program or show. Understand me, Yes, "How shall they Hear without a preacher" I agree, but when you pump up the person, and you advertise your church, your denomination and pastor, people will show up for the wrong reason (the fish and the loaves).
Look At: John 12:32, it has more meaning than the crucifixion, If you lift Up Jesus Christ, promote Him, Talk About Him, Speak About Him, Sing About Him, He will draw men, women and children unto Himself.
* Don't try to Impress people with your scripture memorization. Bible verse John 3:16 doesn't stop being John 3:16 because you did not quote it. You can simple state, it is written, or the bible states, or "it recorded in scripture..." People are not impressed with your scripture memory, although some are, it draws attention to you (oh my you really know your bible...)
Look for the conclusion in Part 3 for some helpful thing you should and can do in defending your faith.
Nathaniel Lewis invites your to visit Going Against The Grain at: http://www.GoingAgainstTheGrain.org where you will find hundreds of thought provoking and inspiring articles. You can find out more about this author at: http://NathanielLewis.info. Please feel free to comment to this article or any article on our blog. Thanks for reading, hope to hear from you soon!