Former major league baseball player Tony Graffanino tells of an ongoing ministry effort in a European country. Each year his organization holds a week-long baseball camp. During this week they also offer a daily Bible study. In past years, the leader tried to find reasoned ways to convince the campers that God exists so they would place their faith in Him. After about 13 years, they had seen only 3 people decide to follow Jesus.

Then they changed their approach, says Graffanino. Instead of “trying to present facts, or winning arguments for a debate,” they simply talked about “the amazing life and teachings of Jesus.” As a result, more campers came to listen, and more chose to follow Him.

The apostle Paul said that when we tell others about the gospel of Jesus Christ, we should set “forth the truth plainly. . . . We do not preach ourselves,” he said, “but Jesus Christ as Lord” (2 Cor. 4:2,5 niv). This was Paul’s standard for evangelism: “I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2).

We should be knowledgeable about the Bible and about the reasons for our belief, and sometimes we need to explain those reasons. But the most compelling and effective story we can tell puts Christ in the center.