Representing Christ today requires three basic skills. First, Christ’s ambassadors need the basic knowledge necessary for the task. They must know the central message of God’s kingdom and something about how to respond to the obstacles they’ll encounter on their diplomatic mission.
However, it is not enough for followers of Jesus to have an accurately informed mind. Our knowledge must be tempered with the kind of wisdom that makes our message clear and persuasive. This requires the tools of a diplomat, not the weapons of a warrior, tactical skill rather than brute force.
Finally, our character can make or break our mission. Knowledge and wisdom are packaged in a person, so to speak. If that person does not embody the virtues of the kingdom he serves, he will undermine his message and handicap his efforts.
These three skills — knowledge, an accurately informed mind; wisdom, an artful method; and character, an attractive manner — play a part in every effective involvement with a nonbeliever. The second skill, tactical wisdom, is the main focus of my book Tactics.
If you are an attentive student, in a very short time you will develop the art of maintaining appropriate control — what I call “staying in the driver’s seat” — in discussions with others. You will learn how to navigate through the minefields to gain a footing or an advantage in conversations. In short, you will be learning to be a better diplomat — an ambassador for Jesus Christ.
An ambassador is . .
- Ready. An ambassador is alert for chances to represent Christ and will not back away from a challenge or an opportunity.
- Patient. An ambassador won’t quarrel, but will listen in order to understand, then with gentleness will seek to respectfully engage those who disagree.
- Reasonable. An ambassador has informed convictions (not just feelings), gives reasons, asks questions, aggressively seeks answers, and will not be stumped by the same challenge twice.
- Tactical. An ambassador adapts to each unique person and situation, maneuvering with wisdom to challenge bad thinking, presenting the truth in an understandable and compelling way.
- Clear. An ambassador is careful with language and will not rely on Christian lingo nor gain unfair advantage by resorting to empty rhetoric.
- Fair. An ambassador is sympathetic and understanding toward others and will acknowledge the merits of contrary views.
- Honest. An ambassador is careful with the facts and will not misrepresent another’s view, overstate his own case, or understate the demands of the gospel.
- Humble. An ambassador is provisional in his claims, knowing that his understanding of truth is fallible. He will not press a point beyond what his evidence allows.
- Attractive. An ambassador will act with grace, kindness, and good manners. He will not dishonor Christ in his conduct.
- Dependent. An ambassador knows that effectiveness requires joining his best efforts with God’s power.
— Gregory Koukl, Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions. Learn how you can grow these qualities in Tactics.
How to Use This Book
You are God’s own representative, and Tactics will make you a more effective ambassador for Christ. Read it on your own or with your small group; you will grow in confidence, and you will learn how to show the world that Christianity is worth thinking about.
About the Author
Gregory Koukll holds MA degrees in both apologetics and philosophy. He’s spoken on over 50 university campuses and hosted his own radio talk show for 18 years defending “Christianity Worth Thinking About.” Greg is founder and president of Stand to Reason and serves as adjunct professor of Christian apologetics at Biola University.