Show people that the Christian faith is reasonable. Study the evidence that supports Christianity so you can tell people about it when they ask. Explain how Christianity makes more sense of reality than its alternatives.

Use different gateways to communicate the Gospel message to people. Gateways are means by which people can come to understand the reality of their own spiritual situation and how Jesus can transform it. Different gateways include: explanations (simply telling people what the Gospel is about), arguments (giving people good reasons for believing in Jesus and trusting Him), stories (showing people the power of a relationship with Jesus at work changing lives), and images (visually communicating the Gospel’s truths and how it transforms people’s lives).

Deal well with people’s questions about faith. Welcome people’s honest questions about faith rather than viewing those questions as threats. Realize that when someone expresses questions about Christianity to you, it’s usually to signal interest and a willingness to listen. When people ask you questions about faith: be gracious, ask them to explain why each question is a particular concern for them (so you can find out any questions behind their questions), listen carefully, and avoid prepackaged answers while seeking to thoughtfully address each specific question. Observe how other people who regularly share their faith with others handle questions, and learn from their approaches. Ask people you trust to observe how you deal with questions from seekers and skeptics, and get their feedback afterward so you can make changes as needed.

Develop your own apologetic approach. As you incorporate apologetics into your everyday life and refine your efforts through practice, you can develop your own distinctive approach to it. Figure out how God has gifted you to best be able to share the Gospel message with others. Keep in mind that you can do so beyond the conversations in which you talk with others; you can also do so through writing, or even just through the example you set to others of how you live your life (your attitudes and actions).

Adapted from Mere Apologetics: How to Help Seekers and Skeptics Find Faith, copyright 2012 by Alister McGrath. Published by Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Mich., www.bakerbooks.com.

Alister E. McGrath (DPhil and DD, University of Oxford; Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts) is professor of theology, ministry, and education, and head of the Centre for Theology, Religion, and Culture at King's College, London, and president for the Oxford Center for Christian Apologetics. He is the author and editor of numerous books, including the award-winning The Passionate Intellect: Christian Faith and the Discipleship of the Mind. A former atheist, he is respectful yet critical of the new atheist movement and regularly engages in debate and dialogue with its leaders.

Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles (http://angels.about.com/). Contact Whitney at: angels.guide@about.com to send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer.

Publication date: April 5, 2012