This sermon at my church The Meeting House really impressed me. While in general Christians tend to orient toward intense historical, scientific, and philosophical debates in order to defend the faith – and there is definitely a place for those questions – Bruxy proposes something a lot more practical: start with the teachings of Jesus. These are applicable to everybody, it doesn’t take any special knowledge other than being a disciple yourself, and it already has started their discipleship process if they do decide to become a Christian later.
It’s almost so obvious that it is sad that I have never heard this discussed before. I assume the reason is that most Protestants define being a Christian as adhering to a set of doctrines: atonement, salvation by grace through faith, the Trinity, etc (the specific requirement list will change by church). Therefore our evangelism should be oriented toward encouraging acceptance of those doctrines. It says something about how we view Christianity if we haven’t even considered that learning what it would look like to follow Jesus would itself be the starting point for evangelism. And it was pretty clearly Jesus’ technique: he just invited people to come and listen to his teachings and then decide whether to follow him. Some counted the cost and did follow, others didn’t, but never did he try to convince people to just accept a list of doctrines instead.
The entire video is embedded here, and you can also listen to the Drive Home.