How Can We Make Disciples of All People?

For years I led my church in what is sometimes called street We need to take the pressure off ourselves and truly believe that the Spirit of God is indeed working—moving in the places we can’t see. I might walk away from a conversation with a Jehovah’s Witness with him still laughing that I believe Jesus is actually God, but what if while we were talking, God dropped a seed in the soil of his heart? I may have said something in our conversation that was a seed God wants to water tomorrow, or ten years from now. In many ways, the church has conditioned us to expect right-now results. We send up praise shouts for how many bodies ran to the altar when the pastor said to come. For some of us, hearing testimonies about how people came to faith can be the highlight of our day. But what if God wants to raise up a generation of evangelists who are content with not seeing the fruit of their labor until they get to glory?

Believe it or not, this call is for all believers. I’m not saying that everyone needs to be a street evangelist. While we are all called to obey the great commission, we’re not all called to fulfill it in that way. When Peter tells believers that they should “always [be] prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15), he isn’t telling us to start arguing with people. He’s simply telling us that we need to be prepared when the opportunity to defend our faith arises.

Because make no mistake: no matter where you live, at some point, you will be called upon to share or defend your faith with somebody who’s operating from a different belief system than you, whether it’s the fallen-away Catholic who lives next door, the yoga instructor at your health club who says she’s really starting to get into Buddhism, or your agnostic uncle who’s always making his opinions known at family get-togethers. The goal of “always being prepared” isn’t to become some kind of Bible Jedi Master, ready to take on any and all objections at once. The goal is to tell the truth of the gospel to others to win hearts, not arguments. It’s to tell the truth in a way that represents God well without it turning into a shouting match, without you completely turning people off, and without you sounding like you don’t know what you’re talking about.

The people who are doing it right are the ones who really understand the great commission. They can look at people who are part of a religious cult, who claim God doesn’t exist, or who are out there shouting false prophecies from a street corner, and rather than getting defensive or upset, they say, “God loves these people and wants to reach them.” And from the very beginning, the way he reaches them is through us, his followers.

Who are the people who live near you, and what do they believe? What will it look like for you to be “prepared to make a defense . . . for the hope that is in you” to the people that God has placed in your way? You don’t have to know everything, but what might be helpful for you to learn to answer the questions they might have about your faith?

Adapted from How to Tell the Truth: The Story of How God Saved Me to Win Hearts—Not Just Arguments by Preston Perry, available now. 

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/MangoStar_Studio

Preston PerryPreston Perry is a poet, performance artist, teacher, author of How to Tell the Truth, and apologist from Chicago. Preston’s writing and teaching have been featured on ministry platforms such as The Gospel Coalition, the Poets in Autumn Tour, and Legacy Disciple. Preston is cohost of the popular podcast With the Perrys. He created Bold Apparel and the YouTube channel Apologetics with Preston Perry in order to engage the public in theological discourse. Preston and his wife, Jackie, reside in Atlanta with their four children: Eden, Autumn, Sage, and August. Instagram X

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