Evangelism and apologetics are two different, but complementary, components of Christian ministry. Evangelism is about sharing the gospel with unbelievers while apologetics defends your faith to those who disagree with it. Apologetics is a key component in evangelism because we cannot share what we do not know or understand ourselves. As Christians, we should be equipped to defend our faith and explain it to non-believers as we witness for Christ!
I remember when I was in a cult, a lot of Christians I met couldn’t answer my questions. They weren’t sure how to defend their faith which kept me firmly planted into the cult. I’ve learned over the last few years, that while evangelism gets a lot of coverage in churches, apologetics is rarely talked about. Women that have been Christians for 5 decades, had never heard of apologetics until we discussed it.
I think we’re doing ourselves a great disservice by neglecting this all too important piece of the gospel. I’m not saying that apologetics is the only thing that should be taught in churches or that evangelism shouldn’t be practiced. I just think both are needed, equally.
What is Evangelism?
Evangelism is about sharing the gospel with unbelievers. The word ‘evangelism’ means “bringing good news of Jesus Christ” and can also refer to the act of sharing your faith with someone else. Evangelism requires that you know what you believe because you are presenting it to somebody who doesn’t believe in it. Much of this requires preparation, which makes apologetics a key component.
One thing I love about evangelism is that it doesn’t always mean serving a mission. Your mission field can be your community. It can be your blog. It can be at the PTA meeting or on the football field. The important thing is that you are sharing God’s word! It can fit your personality. There isn’t one way to be an evangelist. God gave you unique gifts and skills, use them to share the gospel.
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What is Apologetics?
Apologetics is about defending your faith to those who don’t believe in it. The word “apologetics” means “to give an answer for what you believe.” You may have heard that it comes from the Greek word apologia. This word is found in the Bible and has a connection to the book of Acts when Peter stood up to defend himself. 1 Peter 3:15 (KJV) states, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”
Therefore, apologetics is part of the Christian’s duty as a witness for Christ. It is not enough to know what you believe; you must also be able to give an answer for it and defend it. The Bible tells us that we are always to be ready and willing to give an account of our faith so we must know how to do it. Many unbelievers won’t consider the claims of Christ until they have been given reasons to do so and this means that apologetics must be an important part of your Christian walk.
Learn more about Apologetics here.
Why do we need both Evangelism and Apologetics
Evangelism and apologetics are connected to each other because they go together. Evangelism is not useful if you do not know what you are sharing. Apologetics will help you understand your beliefs better so that you can share them with others more effectively. You need both in order to fully be equipped for ministry.
Honestly, neither are optional according to the Bible.
1 Peter 3:15 states that every Christian should be able to defend their faith. While, Mark 16:15 says every Christian is to go out and preach the gospel. When you take on the name of Christ as your Savior, you also accept the responsibility to share the gospel. In order to do that well, you need to know how to defend your faith in a way that connects with the unbeliever.
How can I get started?
The best way to start is by getting grounded in the Word of God. This gives you a firm foundation to build upon. Next, talk to your Pastor or church staff. They will be able to point you in the right direction for further study and give advice based on their own personal experience. You may also find some helpful books at your local Christian bookstore that explain apologetics more thoroughly. These are great tools to help you learn how to defend what you believe!
Remember, evangelism is just another form of communication so it follows that apologetics is just another form of effective communication as well. Both require preparation, but this preparation can help strengthen your faith if done well! Make sure that both components are a part of your Christian walk so you are prepared to do God’s work well.
If you’re ready to dive deeper into Apologetics to help your faith walk and missionary efforts, check out Apologetics 101. It’s a complete beginner’s course to help you be the most effective in your communication and ministry efforts with non-believers.