Home Fellowship Resources

ScheduleIntroductionLesson 1Lesson 2Lesson 3Lesson 4Lesson 5Lesson 6Additional Resources

April 8 through May 24, 2018

Meetings will have 30 minute video then discussions.

Home Fellowship Groups
Sunday evening: 7 pm
Monday evening: 7 pm moved to Wednesday evening at the church, 7 pm
Thursday evening: 7 pm

At The Church
Wednesday evening: 7 pm

For more information Contact the Church Office.

A Game Plan For Effectively Discussing Your Christian Convictions
by Gregory Koukl

Tactics by Gregory KouklThe church leaders have reviewed this material by Gregory Koukl and believe that it is an effective way to communicate your beliefs and engage with others in conversation on spiritual matters.

We are using this material in the Home Fellowship Groups and at the church for any who are interested.

The Study Guide that accompanies the video does not exactly follow the video, and we found that one spends a lot of time (and listening) trying to discover where the video matches the text.

In a response to this, an outline of the material has been developed that follows the current video version of the Tactics video by Gregory Koukl.

This outline is intended for church members to follow the video, and is not intended to replace, supplant, or modify the teaching by Gregory Koukl. It was created by following point-by-point the current video lessons and creating an outline that follows the video.

You are encouraged to purchase a copy of Gregory Koukl’s teaching materials on this subject of Tactics. The book and study guide contain more information than shared on the video.

Tactics (book), by Gregory Koukl; Zondervan Press; ISBN-13: 978-0310-282921
Tactics (DVD), by Gregory Koukl; Zondervan Press; ISBN: 978-0-310-52907-1
Tactics (Study Guide), by Gregory Koukl; Zondervan Press; ISBN: 978-0-310-52919-4
Tactics DVD + Study Guide (Bundle), by Gregory Koukl; Zondervan Press; ISBN-13: 978-0310-53194-4
Online Tactics Video, (old version, free)

Getting Into The Driver’s Seat
Learning the Columbo Tactic

Learn the value of using the tactical approach when discussing Christianity. Tactics help you control the conversation by getting you into the driver’s seat and keeping you there. Tactics also help you maneuver effectively in the midst of disagreement so that your engagements seem more like diplomacy than combat.

Define tactics and distinguish them from strategy. Strategy involves the big picture, which in our case means the content, information, and reasons why someone should believe Christianity is true. Tactics, on the other hand, involve the details of the engagement, the art of navigating through the conversation itself.

Learn about the dangers of using tactics. Tactics are not tricks, slick ruses, or clever ploys that belittle or humiliate the other person. Instead, tactics are used to gain a footing, to maneuver, and to expose another person’s bad thinking so you can guide them to truth.

Outline for Tactics Lesson 01

The Columbo Tactic
and the “Burden of Proof”

There is a difference between an argument and a fight. Unfriendly quarrels are not productive. If anyone in the conversation gets mad, then you lose. Arguments, on the other hand, are good things. Indeed, arguing is a virtue, because it advances clear thinking. If done well, it helps refine our understanding of truth.

The second use of the Columbo tactic is based on the notion that people should be able to give reasons for important things they think are true. Instead of letting out critics have a free ride, we make them defend their own beliefs—or unbelief, as the case may be. Use the question “How did you come to that conclusion?” or a variation of it. This is called “reversing the burden of proof.” Refuse to shoulder the burden of proof when you have not made a claim.

Opinions alone are not proof. A person giving a real argument does more than just state their opinion. They support their point of view with evidence and reasons much like the walls of a house support the roof. Roofs are useless when they are on the ground. In the same way, it’s not enough for someone to contradict your view by simply telling a story. An alternate explanation is not a refutation.

Outline for Tactics Lesson 02

Refining the Columbo Tactic
Using Questions to Make a Point

The Columbo tactic, a simple guide to direct your steps during a discussion, is a disarming way to go on the offensive with carefully selected questions that productively advance the conversation. This approach has many advantages. Questions can be excellent conversation starters. They are interactive by nature, inviting others to participate in dialogue. They are neutral, protecting you from getting “preachy,” helping you make headway without stating your case. Questions buy valuable time. They are essential to keeping you in control of the conversation.

Be alert for questions that are not really questions at all, but assertions in disguise (e.g., “Who are you to say?”). When you encounter this situation, point out that the question is confusing. Then ask the person to rephrase it in the form of a statement.

Questions can be very effective to lead someone in the direction we want the conversation to go. Such “leading questions” often work better than statements to explain our view, to set up the discussion in a way that makes it easier for us to make our point, to soften our challenge to another’s view, or to indirectly expose a flaw in the other’s thinking. It is helpful, and in some cases required, to have knowledge of some kind regarding the subject of your conversation.

When we know what we want to accomplish (e.g., to inform, to persuade, to set up the terms, or to refute), we can use leading questions to achieve our purpose. This is a skill that develops over time, so if you stall out at first, don’t be discouraged. Instead of trying to force a conversation you don’t have the resources to pursue, you can simply move on, knowing you have done the best that you could for the moment.

Outline for Tactics Lesson 03

The Suicide Tactic
Views that Self-Destruct

If someone’s thinking is flawed, the key to finding the error is to listen carefully to the reasons and then ask if the conclusions follow from the evidence. Point out errors using questions rather than statements. You might soften your challenge by phrasing your concern as a request for clarification or by suggesting an alternative with the words, “Have you considered…” before offering your own ideas.

It is not always necessary to do all the work dealing with an argument or a challenge. Sometimes a view defeats itself. The tactic used to expose this tendency is called Suicide. Views that violate the law of non-contradiction are necessarily false. For this reason, the presence of a contradiction is a decisive defeater of any argument or point of view.

Suicidal views have within them the seeds of their own destruction because they express contradictory concepts. They refute themselves. That’s why they are called self-refuting. Sometimes objections come in pairs that are logically inconsistent with each other, they are in opposition. Remember, many formal contradictions are not immediately obvious. Instead, they are implicit, embedded in the larger idea. This makes them easy to miss. Even intelligent and educated people sometimes hold contradictory views without realizing it.

First, pay close attention to the basic premise, conviction, or claim. Next, ask if the claim applies to itself. If so, does it satisfy its own criteria, or is there an internal contradiction? If the exact same reasons in favor of another’s view (or against your own) defeat the reasons themselves, then the view is self-refuting. If you discover a problem, use a question (Columbo) rather than a statement to point it out.

Outline for Tactics Lesson 04

The Taking-the-Roof-Off Tactic
Follow Through to the Conclusion

Some points of view, if taken seriously, don’t actually commit suicide, but they work against themselves in a different way. When played out consistently, they lead to unusual—even absurd—conclusions. Another name for this tactic is reductio ad absurdum.

This tactic has three steps:

  1. Reduce the point of view to its basic argument, assertion, principle, or premise.
  2. Give the idea a “test drive” to see if any absurd consequences result when we consistently apply the logic of the view.
  3. Invite the person to consider the unusual implications of their view and the truth that follows from the reductio.

Taking the Roof Off works because humans are made in the image of God and must live in the world God created. Any person who denies this fact lives in tension between the way he says the world is and the way the world actually is.

To protect themselves from this contradiction, mankind has erected a self-deception—or a “roof”—to shield themselves from the logical implications of his beliefs. With this tactic, we try to remove that roof to deprive them of their false sense of security, then show them the truth.

Outline for Tactics Lesson 05

The Steamroller Tactic
When Arguments Don’t Work

Once in a while you will encounter people who try to over power you. They don’t necessarily try to overwhelm you with facts or arguments. Rather, they roll over you with the force of their personalities. Their challenges come quickly, one after another, keeping you from collecting your wits and giving a thoughtful answer. If this description sounds familiar, then you have been steamrolled. Men are frequently guilty of steamrolling, especially when talking with women, but women can be offenders, too.

Steamrollers have a defining characteristic. They constantly interrupt. As soon as you begin to answer, they here something they don’t like in your explanation, interrupt, then pile on another challenge. If you try to go down the new path, they interrupt again, firing off questions, changing the subject, yet never really listening to anything you say. You find yourself constantly off balance and on the defensive.

Because steamrollers are so aggressive, you must manage them aggressively, though you do not need to be rude. For some, it will take a little courage and intestinal fortitude to face up to such a powerhouse at first. However, once you learn the following three steps to stop a steamroller, you will discover that getting back into the driver’s seat is easier than you thought.

  1. Stop Them
  2. Shame Them
  3. Leave Them

First you stop them. Let them know you haven’t finished responding. If that doesn’t work then, you shame them. Politely speak directly to them not allowing you to respond, and that they allow you to finish your response. If that doesn’t work, you leave them. When all else fails, let it go. Walk away. If the steamroller won’t let you answer, listen politely until they’re finished, then drop it. Sometimes the wisest course of action may be to bow out graciously. Let them have the satisfaction of having the last word, then shake the dust off your feet and move on.

Outline for Tactics Lesson 06

• Official resources: [book] [DVD] [study guide] [DVD+study guide]
• Visit the Stand To Reason website. Be sure to check out their podcasts and also their YouTube channel.
• Here is an older version of the tactics video on YouTube.

• Build your witnessing skill with the Basic Training Course by Living Waters.

They have a number of outreaches including the Ambassador’s Academy and the School of Biblical Evangelism.  Their store is a tremendous resource were you can find an abundance of training materials, tracts, books, video, audio, and more. They also have various free resources.

Conquer Your Fear, Share Your Faith by Ray Comfort; $15.99 $9.99 
(book, only while supplies last) 

Terrified: How to overcome the fear of sharing your faith by Todd Friel

Includes (mp3 + pdf) step by step study manual and 26 witness encounters. This is from Todd Friel’s ministry at wretched.org. He has hundreds of podcasts available free of charge (many of them include live witnessing). You can also view many witnessing videos.

Evidence That Demands A Verdict by Josh McDowell & Sean McDowell

The modern apologetics classic that started it all is now completely revised and updated (October 3, 2017)—because the truth of the Bible doesn’t change, but its critics do. With the original Evidence That Demands a Verdict, bestselling author Josh McDowell gave Christian readers the answers they needed to defend their faith against the harshest critics and skeptics.

Since that time, Evidence has remained a trusted resource for believers young and old. Bringing historical documentation and the best modern scholarship to bear on the trustworthiness of the Bible and its teachings, this extensive volume has encouraged and strengthened millions. Now, with his son Sean McDowell, Josh McDowell has updated and expanded this classic resource for a new generation. This is a book that invites readers to bring their doubts and doesn’t shy away from the tough questions.

I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist by Norman L. Geisler & Frank Turek

To some, the concept of having faith in a higher power or a set of religious beliefs is nonsensical. Indeed, many view religion in general, and Christianity in particular, as unfounded and unreasonable.

However, Norman Geisler and Frank Turek argue that Christianity is not only more reasonable than all other belief systems, but is indeed more rational than unbelief itself. With conviction and clear thinking, Geisler and Turek guide readers through some of the traditional, tested arguments for the existence of a creator God. They move into an examination of the source of morality and the reliability of the New Testament accounts concerning Jesus. The final section of the book deals with a detailed investigation of the claims of Christ. This volume will be an interesting read for those skeptical about Christianity, as well as a helpful resource for Christians seeking to articulate a more sophisticated defense of their faith.