Ten Steps to Becoming an Effective “Tent-Making” Christian Case Maker

Here are some good tips from Jim Wallace:

By Jim Wallace

Many observers have noted a renaissance in Christian apologetics (aka: Christian Case Making) over the past several years. Much of this resurgence is taking place in the ranks of “tent-making” Christian Case Makers. “Tent-makers”, like the Apostle Paul, draw their income from conventional careers (Paul was described as a tent-maker in Acts 18:1-3), so they can evangelize, preach, make a case or serve as they have been called by God. I consider myself to be a member of this “Army of Tent Makers”; my income continues to come from my law enforcement employment, and it always will. It’s been difficult at times to juggle my vocational employment as a detective with my avocational calling as an apologist, but along the way, I discovered a number of helpful “tent-making” principles. These simple concepts may help you become a better “One Dollar Apologist” as well:

Get Going

If you’ve finally come to the realization your identity as a Christian is synonymous with your calling as a Christian Case Maker, it’s time to get in the game. For many of us, this is the hardest, but most important step. Like deciding to start a new diet or exercise program, nothing good will happen until you reach the end of your apathy. Take a look at the world around you. If the growing collapse of Christian ethics (and influence) isn’t enough to motivate you, you’re simply not paying attention. Get fired up. Be who and what you’re supposed to be. Do something. Get going.

Be A Learner

No one draws water from an empty well. If you hope to influence the world, you’re going to need to know a few things. Many of us, as Christians, have been worshipping God with our hearts and souls while ignoring God with our minds. If you’re interested in Christian “apologetics,” you’ve probably already come to the realization God is honored when we take the time to study the truth. You may already be a good student, but if you’re just coming around to the idea, don’t be overwhelmed or discouraged. There are many great free resources on the Internet (I’ll provide you with a list on Monday), and don’t be afraid to examine the Christian apologetics programs around the country. There’s probably one perfectly suited to you.

Find Your “Lane

You have a personal history all your own. God has shaped you in a specific way to reach people no one else can reach. You might not think your job or life experience is all that important to your ability to be an effective Christian Case Maker, but you’re wrong. Your life is the foundation from which you will have an important impact; you simply have to find (and stay in) your “lane”. I’m a detective. As a result, I have some experience with evidence. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that I’m an “evidential” Christian Case Maker; that’s my lane and I try to stay in it. This means I may not be the best authority when it comes to a number of other Christian worldview issues. That’s where you come in. maybe your life has given you better insight in areas where I am weak. If we each find our lane (and work hard to develop our expertise) we’ll impact our culture as a team.

Develop a Plan

Vision is incredibly important to “tent-making” Christian Case Making. If you’re already working full-time, you’ll be far more effective as a Case Maker if you are intentional in everything you do. Think about how you can best impact your world. Should you start a blog?  Start teaching or serving in a ministry at your church? Start engaging the world on social media? Create a new website? Write a book? Create videos? Start a Podcast? There are a number of ways you can impact the world as a Case Maker. Decide what best fits your gifting, and develop a plan.

Build a Platform

If you want to influence the world around you, you’ll need to start thinking about your “platform”. If you’re blogging, you probably want people to find and read your blogs. If you’ve written a book, you probably want people to read it. As “tent-making” Christian Case Makers, we’ve got to do more than work hard, we’ve got to work smart. Without question, the one book every one of us should own and implement is Michael Hyatt’s Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World (I swear I should get royalties for all the times I have recommended this resource). If you want to turn your efforts into impact, you’ll need to build your platform.

Be Disciplined

For many years now, people have asked me how I’ve been able to contribute as much as I have while working full-time as a detective, serving part-time as a pastor, and loving my wife and kids as a husband and dad. While my wife, Susie, should get most of the credit, much of it comes down to being disciplined. It’s 4:30am as I am typing this blog. I start early every day, and I’ve been disciplined about my approach to Case Making over the years. Like running or going to school, if you can be committed to a daily effort (as part of your daily routine), you’ll be very productive as a Case Maker. This is a Discipline; you’ve got to be disciplined to be effective.

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