When sharing the Gospel, you will find that people have many reasons for dismissing the Bible or Christianity, and a few individuals are downright hostile to the faith. But you don't have to be intimidated by these responses. A loving, respectful attitude on your part can go a long way toward disarming critics and reducing conflicts. The Bible commands us to share the hope of the gospel "with gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:15), for "A gentle answer turns away wrath" (Proverbs 15:1).
Some Basic Principles:
1. Never Argue.
Remember, your job is to share the Gospel, not win an argument. What good is wining an argument if you lose a soul?
2. Don't try to reason within the listener's sphere of expertise.
You can't know everything. If you try and argue philosophy with a philosopher or science with a scientist, you will probably lose. Keep bringing the conversation back to what you know: Jesus and the Gospel.
3. Remember what God has commissioned you to do.
Your job is to proclaim; it is God's job to convert. You do not have to win a convert in order to have a successful encounter. Successful witnessing is simply taking the initiative to share Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, and leaving the results to God.
4. Try to move into the Gospel as soon as possible.
Whenever appropriate, use the questions or objections as a means to transition into your presentation. Many questions and objections will be resolved once the hearer gains a complete understanding of the gospel message. If not, there will be plenty of time for discussion afterwards.
5. Appeal to the listener's intellectual integrity.
Most people haven't really considered the Bible and it's claims objectively. Gently point out that it is intellectually dishonest to reject the claims of Christianity without first understanding them. Encourage them to set aside their preconceived ideas and give the Gospel a fair hearing.
6. Avoid rabbit trails.
Questions and objections can easily sidetrack the conversation. Do your best to be polite and patient, staying focussed on the Gospel. If a question comes up during your presentation, graciously ask them to wait until you are finished explaining the Gospel. The only exception is if the person is obviously becoming irritated. If this happens, politely respond by saying "I'm sorry if I've offended you. Here, why don't you take this tract and read it through later when you are ready."
7. Always, if the listener rejects the gospel, leave him with something to read.
Give him a gospel tract or a New Testament, and suggest a THIRTY DAY CHALLENGE: Ask them to read the Gospel of John for five minutes a day, every day, for thirty days. Each day before reading they should pray, "God, if you are real and the Bible is Your truth, please reveal it to me." When you don't know what else to say, let God's Word do the talking.
8. Never rush a decision.
You've laid a foundation with the Gospel and done your best to answer the listener's questions, but they may still need some time to think it all over. If this happens, leave them with a tract and entrust them to God. A true conversion that takes time is always better than a false conversion that happens all at once.
(To read a longer treatment on this subject, visit ShareYourFaith.org.)